Federal Politics

Published — December 26, 2013 Updated — May 19, 2014 at 12:19 pm ET

Top politics investigations from 2013

We asked our editors to select their favorites from this year’s work

Introduction

Editors note: As the year winds down, we wanted to revisit some of the best accountability journalism from each of our coverage sections. We’ll be posting a new list daily for the rest of the year.

In this election off-year, our Consider the Source team made a point of covering money-in-politics issues that don’t often get attention from mainstream media, like state-level super PAC and nonprofit spending, and potential conflicts of interest within state justice systems. Here’s a look at the work we’re most proud of.

(If you aren’t signed up for our Watchdog email newsletter, what are you waiting for? It’s totally free, and you can receive customized updates from us on a daily, bi-weekly or weekly basis. Sign-up using the form below.)

Nonprofit group Donors Trust lets donors fly ‘totally under the radar’

Ever heard of the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity? In 2011, 95 percent of the Franklin Center’s revenue came from a charity called Donors Trust, a donor advised fund that has become a major vehicle for tax-exempt giving from wealthy conservatives such as billionaire industrialist Charles Koch. Keep reading

Corporations and conservative foundations are top sponsors of judicial junkets

Judges across the country were paid to attend seminars on topics such as “The Moral Foundations of Capitalism,” and “Corporations and the Limits of Criminal Law.” Who picked up the tab? Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, ExxonMobil, Dow Chemical and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Keep reading

Nearly $12 million spent by super PACs and nonprofits in state supreme court races

We looked at 10 state supreme court races from 2012 and 2013, nearly 40 percent of spending came from out-of-state groups. This outside influence was especially potent in North Carolina, Mississippi and Iowa judicial races.
Keep reading

Meet William Koch, the other Koch brother

Despite a nasty falling-out between William and his more well-known brothers, Charles and David, William is also a businessman and a billionaire who isn’t shy about using his fortune to influence politics. While Charles and David seem to prefer giving through nonprofits, William donates both personally and through his corporations. Keep reading

See the ambassadorships big money can bring

So far in his second term, President Obama has nominated 23 elite fundraisers, or bundlers, to top diplomatic posts. See where the bundlers were sent, in comparison to where career diplomats were sent. Keep reading

Puppet states: outside groups spent at least $209 million in 38 states in the 2012 election cycle

We all know the ‘Citizens United’ ruling made it easier than ever for outside groups to raise and spend cash, but the ruling also threw out spending rules in 24 states. More than one out of every two dollars spent originated from groups funded primarily or entirely by out-of-state donors. Keep reading

Forty-two states (plus D.C.) fail our review of
financial disclosure requirements for supreme court judges

Very few states require meaningful for judges’ financial holdings. Based on the rules that do exist, however, we found 35 cases of questionable gifts or investments overlapping with caseloads. As one might be able to expect, this report drew ire from a number of judges around the country. Keep reading

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SOUTH JERSEYTed SiroisMark SullivanTom LarkinAnonymous Recent comment authors
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Mark Sullivan
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Mark Sullivan

Trump needs to conduct these activities because the entire MSM media, excluding Fox, is campaigning against him 24/7/365.

Didn’t Monica’s boyfriend’s wife and various criminal enterprises outspend Trump by almost 2-1?

CapitalistRoader
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CapitalistRoader

Why wouldn’t he get an early start on fund raising? Hillary outspent him two-to-one in 2016. The Dem’s are the party of big money. The President knows this and is attempting to get a jump on it. Of course the Dem candidate will outspend him in 2020 so it’s only rational that he starts fund raising now.

George Young
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George Young

Oh brother. We just 8 years of the Campaigner – in – Chief. Where was this journalistic rectal thermometer then. Just another article about 2000 words too long that merely takes another slap at Trump for something he far from initiated.

j stevenson
Guest
j stevenson

The big difference between Trump and all the rest is his refusing to accept funds from lobbyists, so they don’t have the White House access they are used to. These are the donors who buy the presidency and are as pixxed off that he won the election as are the media and the Dems. Lobbyists have never been shut out of the WH and Trump has told them he is not for sale.

jan v
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jan v

all the lobbyists are running all our government agencies and all the career civil servants who know how to run the country have been fired. YOU think this is a good thing ? what a crock…

thomas alessi
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thomas alessi

I am for Trump

Martin Shellabarger
Guest

J. Stevenson, what are you drinking? Trump has more lobbyists in his administration than probably any other president. Trump is totally “for sale”, and the corporations know it. Grow a brain!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Trump needs to be impeached and tossed in prison. Then have the key thrown away so he will never be free. Then he can see how it feels not to have freedom.

Mark Sullivan
Guest
Mark Sullivan

Thank you for the usual insightful leftist low IQ Snowflake response.

barney
Guest

hes not imprisoning them hes sending them back to their country chill tf out

SOUTH JERSEY
Guest
SOUTH JERSEY

WHY DONT YOU HAVE FREEDOM?

Tom Larkin
Guest
Tom Larkin

First, something positive. I was happy to learn of empirical information in article. BUT, the article was so slanted against President Trump as to be deemed fake news (“Perhaps Trump just lied.” (Two different issues)). The article mentions that President Trump raised over $67 million, but ended 2018 with $19 million. President Trump spent over $40 million 2016 and 2017. President Trump conducted 57 political rallies. The article notes the hats and T-shirts sold, but NEVER MENTIONS THE INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF REPUBLICAN SENATORS during a mid-term election that lost the House and the number of political rallies in… Read more »

Ted Sirois
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Ted Sirois

At least Trump is getting donations from willing donors. Fresh from his first election, Obama used billions of our children’s tax dollars to save thousands of union jobs in the car industry and bailed out the banks and many Wall Street businesses. This secured his source of reelection funds for his reelection four years later.

South Jersey
Guest
South Jersey

TRUMP 2020; IS AN AMAZINGLY SMART MAN! VERY ORIGINAL & CREATIVE. I AM HAPPY TO HAVE HIS AS POTUS.

SOUTH JERSEY
Guest
SOUTH JERSEY

THIS ARTICLE WAS OBVIOUSLY WRITTEN BY, A TRUMP-HATE-GROUP. THAT FEELS; IT IS NOT NORMAL TO BE SUCCESSFUL WITH YOUR OWN BRAND NAME. WHEN, IF FACT, IT IS NORMAL! >>>>> THIS IS >>> FAKE NEWS!!! <<<< ie: A PACK-OF-LIES; SPUN INTO; DEFAMATION OF CHARACTER. FOR A SINISTER-AGENDA OF; FASCIST DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST, COUP D'ETAT

David
Guest
David

Are you on some kind of drugs? Writing in caps makes me think that you are grumpy old fart or a uneducated hillbilly.