Extra Extra : Elections

With veto power, Rick Perry influenced, targeted and vexed

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s history shows his recent and controversial use of the veto isn’t the only time he’s used the power for political reasons.

Perry, who faces pending charges over his veto threat to a district attorney after her drunk driving arrest, has a long and complex history with the veto, according to a story in The Austin American-Statesman.

Extra Extra Monday: ATF stings, voter fraud and the new subprime bubble

Investigation: ATF drug stings targeted minorities | USA TODAY

The nation's top gun-enforcement agency overwhelmingly targeted racial and ethnic minorities as it expanded its use of controversial drug sting operations, a USA TODAY investigation shows.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has more than quadrupled its use of those stings during the past decade, quietly making them a central part of its attempts to combat gun crime. The operations are designed to produce long prison sentences for suspects enticed by the promise of pocketing as much as $100,000 for robbing a drug stash house that does not ...

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Iowa state senator’s National Guard service not the only reason she missed votes

United States Senate candidate and state senator Joni Ernst has cited her National Guard duty to rebuff criticism for missing more than half of the votes in the Iowa Senate this year.

In a WHO-TV interview posted on April 7, the Red Oak Republican acknowledged that National Guard service wasn’t the only reason she’s missed votes, but she said that only “a few of those votes were due to other activities.”

However, a review by The Gazette (Cedar Rapids, IA) shows very little overlap between Iowa Senate votes and her National Guard service.

Read the story here.

Fifteen felons voted in 2010 Maryland gubernatorial election

Though felons are prohibited from voting in Maryland, 15 of them cast ballots in the 2010 gubernatorial election, according to a recently released audit.

The finding in an Office of Legislative Audits' report criticized the State Board of Elections, saying the agency "did not have an effective process to ensure that individuals serving a sentence for a felony

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.”

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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Secret files reveal how pay-to-play works in N.J.

A special report by The Star-Ledger exposes how one politically connected engineering firm parlayed campaign donations into millions of dollars in public contracts, all the while keeping the scheme hidden from the public. An analysis of the records, meticulously kept and numbering 137 pages, found Birdsall made more than 1,000 secret campaign contributions worth in excess of $1 million to politicians of all stripes and in all corners of New Jersey. At the same time, the company cashed in on more than $84 million in public contracts.

U-T San Diego may have offered bargain ad deals to candidates they endorsed.

Tom Shephard, a political consultant for Bob Filner, a Democrat running for mayor of San Diego, noticed a lot of full page newspaper ads attacking his client; ads that he was quoted $8,000 for.

"Amita Sharma and Ryann Growchowski, with inewsource and KPBS, audited ads in the San Diego Union-Tribune every day between Labor Day and Election Day 2012 and compared the list with campaign finance records. The results show varied payments for ads, indicating the U-T may have offered bargains to the anti-Filner campaign and to other candidates and issues the newspaper endorsed."

Update: California's Fair Political ...

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Extra Extra Monday: Medical bills, hyperengineered food and private prison cash

Time
Bitter Pill: Why medical bills are killing us
“Breaking these trillions down into real bills going to real patients cuts through the ideological debate over health care policy. By dissecting the bills that people like Sean Recchi face, we can see exactly how and why we are overspending, where the money is going and how to get it back. We just have to follow the money.”

New York Times Magazine
The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food
“Inside the hyperengineered, savagely marketed, addiction-creating battle for American ‘stomach share.’”

Columbia Journalism Review
Immigration reform and private prison cash

“Key lawmakers ...

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The Case of the phantom ballots: an electoral whodunit

"Within 2½ weeks, 2,552 online requests arrived from voters who had not applied for absentee ballots. They streamed in much too quickly for real people to be filling them out. They originated from only a handful of Internet Protocol addresses. And they were not random. It had all the appearances of a political dirty trick, a high-tech effort by an unknown hacker to sway three key Aug. 14 primary elections, a Miami Herald investigation has found.”