Inside Publici

Published — May 10, 2012

Watchdog 5/10/12

Introduction

New International Investigations Website

Crime and corruption don’t stop at national borders. That’s why the Center launched the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists in 1997. This unique group is comprised of 160 member journalists in 60 countries who investigate bad actors and trans-global issues across the world.

This week, ICIJ unveiled a new website showcasing its award-winning work. I invite you to take a look. There you’ll find the full Looting the Seas investigation on worldwide overfishing; Dangers in the Dust, an expose of the deadly international asbestos trade; and Island of the Widows, an ongoing investigation of a mysterious kidney ailment afflicting farm laborers in Latin America. The site also includes information on a new ICIJ investigation of international tax havens.

With deep reporting cutbacks in media outlets in the U.S., the intrinsic value of the Center and ICIJ’s global investigative work grows daily. We dig into the toughest and most important stories other media simply aren’t able to cover.

Until next week,

Bill Buzenberg
Executive Director

Public supports cuts in defense budget to address deficits
Three-quarters of Americans support cutting the defense budget as a way to reduce the deficit, according to a new poll sponsored by the Center for Public Integrity, the Stimson Center and the Program for Public Consultation. The conclusion is bipartisan: 80 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republican respondents supported the cuts. Respondents were presented the defense budget broken down into nine major areas, presented arguments for and against cutting each area, and asked to change each area up or down as they saw fit. Majorities made cuts in all areas. Overall, spending was cut an average of 18 percent, with Republicans trimming an average of 15 percent and Democrats 22 percent.

Lugar loses to super PACs
Indiana Republican Senator Richard Lugar lost in the Indiana Republican primary on Tuesday to Richard Mourdock, a tea party favorite who enjoyed huge backing from super PACs. According to the most recent campaign finance filings with the Federal Election Commission, outside groups supportive of Mourdock spent about $3 million, $1 million more than Mourdock’s own campaign.

ALEC exempted from lobbyist status in three states
It could take several years for the IRS to decide whether the American Legislative Exchange Council is indeed a lobbyist required to register with that label and disclose how much it spends on influencing legislation. But in three states — South Carolina, Indiana and Colorado — it turns out that ALEC has quietly, and by name, been specifically exempted from lobbyist status.

Governor cites Center integrity investigation
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad signed a bill last week creating the Iowa Public Information Board, a nine-member commission that will oversee and enforce the state’s open records laws. Branstad noted that the lack of enforcement was highlighted by the State Integrity Investigation and affected Iowa’s overall grade. Iowa ranked 7th among the 50 states and earned an overall grade of C+.

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