"News broke in San Diego last week about a mysterious foreign national bent on influencing San Diego politics by illegally funneling money to political campaigns through a retired San Diego police detective and a undisclosed “straw donor.” Now, the politicians on the receiving end of the tainted funds are scrambling to distance themselves from the scandal." Brad Racino and Joe Yerardi from Inewsource walk through how they unraveled the scandal.
Extra Extra : Campaign Finance
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the online files from the Minnesota agency charged with tracking candidate and campaign fundraising are riddled with inaccuracies, leading to errors that total as much as $20 million over the past decade, according to an analysis. About 7,000 records of donations between Minnesota groups are incorrect — an error rate of about one in seven. The flaws are enough to hamper any comprehensive attempt to examine the flow of political money in the state, at a time when that spending has soared to record heights.
“Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz potentially violated ethics rules by failing to publicly disclose his financial relationship with a Caribbean-based holding company during the 2012 campaign, a review of financial disclosure and company documents by TIME shows.”
“Long before the term "Super PAC" entered the national lexicon of campaign finance, unauthorized committees — those acting in support of but without the expressed approval of candidates — gave donors a means to skirt limits that New York places on those donating directly to candidates.”
Extra Extra Monday: Faking the grade, mug shots online, pharma payments and the politics of mental health care
How Sunrise police make millions selling drugs | Sun Sentinel
"Police in this suburban town best known for its sprawling outlet mall have hit upon a surefire way to make millions. They sell cocaine."
How safe are Indiana day cares? | Indianapolis Star
"Indiana spends about $2.5 million inspecting and licensing more than 4,000 day cares that serve more than 150,000 children every year. Yet an Indianapolis Star investigation found that the system fails to hold many day cares accountable — even if they jeopardize the safety of children. In fact, at least 21 children have died in Indiana day ...
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: "If candidates for mayor of Minneapolis were running in Boston, they would file a report online of their campaign contributions every two weeks for six months before the election. If they were running in Seattle? Once a week. And in a range of other cities with a mayoral election this fall, they would have shared their donor lists at least four months before voters go to the polls. Instead, contenders in the first open-seat race for Minneapolis mayor in 20 years have received contributions for as long as eight months without having to disclose a ...Read more ...
The Sunlight Foundation reports that in the wake of Citizens United, tax-exempt social welfare groups, 501(c)4 organizations, have becoming increasingly popular as conduits for big, anonymous campaign donations. A survey by the Sunlight Foundation found dozens of groups in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia that appear to benefit Republican and Democratic politicians, despite being set up as social welfare nonprofits that according to tax code most benefit whole communities. The Sunlight Foundation also reports "plenty of evidence that a group's ability to operate as a tax exempt organization has less to do with its political persuasion ...Read more ...
“A major defense contractor used campaign donations and insider access on Capitol Hill to defy the Air Force and keep a troubled drone aloft at a cost to taxpayers of billions of dollars,” according to a Center for Public Integrity report.
Koch foundations gave more than $41 million to 89 nonprofits from 2007-11, part of a wide effort to fund organizations with public policy, education and political interests that align with those of Koch Industries, run by Charles and David Koch. The Investigative Reporting Workshop examined Internal Revenue Service documents for a closer look at Koch giving, which also includes millions to the arts, medicine and colleges across the country, as well as continued support of a "No Climate Tax Pledge."
The 27 senators who voted against an immigration overhaul bill amendment, which strengthens border security but is also a step towards passing the overall immigration package, on average received very little money from the computer industry, human rights groups and labor unions, but did receive heavy support from donors in the agribusiness industry, according to an OpenSecrets Blog post.