Extra Extra : Campaign Finance

Construction contracts given to political-campaign donors

A school board in Florida split up construction work into a number of small contracts it then gave to companies that had donated to the superintendent's political campaign, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.  In doing so, the school board avoided the $2-million threshold in state statute that would have triggered competitive bidding. Read the full story here.

Extra Extra Monday: The billion-dollar trophy deer industry, election spending, missing radon tests

Trophy deer industry linked to disease, costs taxpayers millions | Indianapolis Star

In less than 40 years, a relatively small group of farmers has created something the world has never seen before — a billion-dollar industry primarily devoted to breeding deer that are trucked to fenced hunting preserves to be shot by patrons willing to pay thousands for the trophies.

An Indianapolis Star investigation has discovered the industry costs taxpayers millions of dollars, compromises long-standing wildlife laws, endangers wild deer and undermines the government's multibillion-dollar effort to protect livestock and the food supply.

More than 100 publicly funded charter schools fail ...

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A campaign inquiry in Utah is the watchdogs’ worst case

Investigators say former Utah Attorney General John Swallow “exploited a web of vaguely named nonprofit organizations in several states to mask hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from payday lenders,” The New York Times reports.

“Public records, affidavits and a special legislative report released last week offer a strikingly candid view inside the world of political nonprofits, where big money sluices into campaigns behind a veil of secrecy.”

Read the entire story.

Unraveling the San Diego campaign finance scandal

"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.

Minnesota campaign finance regulators' database isn't adding up

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.

Hidden cash fueled Warren campaign

“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 ...

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Minneapolis mayor's race lags in disclosing campaign contributions

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 ...

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