Pa. Lawmakers Mask Millions in Campaign Expenses

A year-long investigation by Spotlight PA and The Caucus found Pennsylvania lawmakers use credit cards, gift cards and reimbursements to themselves to mask millions of dollars in campaign expenses. The spending includes lavish dinners, foreign trips, sports tickets, limos, country club memberships and more. Pennsylvania lawmakers operate under some of the country’s weakest campaign finance…

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IRE Radio Podcast | Making a List, Checking it Twice

One of the biggest scoops this election cycle came from Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold. His relentless shoe-leather reporting – and list making – revealed that Donald Trump wasn’t exactly the philanthropist he was claiming to be on the campaign trail. Instead of donating his own money to charity, Trump would give away or spend dollars donated…

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When checking your mailbox isn’t enough: 3 tips for investigating local elections

Image by Justin Grimes. Used under Creative Commons License. In September, New York Times reporter Susanne Craig checked her mailbox. Checking for snail mail wasn’t abnormal for her, but what she found was: a copy of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns. The document led to a notable scoop for the Times and plenty of lessons for reporters. Craig…

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Follow the money in state, local elections

By Kaitlin Washburn Journalists from the Sunlight Foundation, National Institute on Money in State Politics, and Voice of OC discussed strategies for following the money in state and local elections. Melissa Yeager, a senior staff writer for the Sunlight Foundation, started by giving specific reasons why state and local coverage is so important: There’s more…

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Where to find information on ‘dark money’

By Brittany Crocker There’s a saying in the journalism world: “News is what someone wants suppressed. Everything else is advertising.” Carrie Levine from the Center for Public Integrity said if that’s true, then we should all be writing stories about dark money. Levine, Robert Maguire from the Center for Responsive Politics and Melissa Yeager of…

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Look for election and security tracks at the 2016 CAR Conference

While you’re planning your days at the upcoming CAR Conference in Denver, keep in mind that we’ve planned special tracks on covering elections and digital security. Here’s a rundown of the sessions in each track. You can learn more about each session by clicking through to the session description.   Election track: From campaign finance…

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IRE Radio Podcast | A Conversation with Laura Poitras

How do you earn the trust of a source like Edward Snowden? Or the former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden? On this bonus episode of the podcast we’ll hear from someone who did just that. Earlier this year documentarian Laura Poitras spoke with Toronto Star reporter Robert Cribb at the 2015 IRE Conference. In the…

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Buying influence: How to track lobbyists

By Liz Essley Whyte When New York Times reporter Eric Lipton got a tip that powerful political associations were asking lobbyists for $125,000 contributions in exchange for phone calls with states’ attorneys general, he knew he had to find out more. So he got on a plane to California to attend a conference, uninvited. He…

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Merchants of mudslinging: Tips for investigating campaign advertising

By Mariam Baksh Michael Beckel reports on money and politics for the Center for Public Integrity, Julie Bykowicz covers money and politics for the Associated Press and Robert Faturechi covers campaign finance for ProPublica. Among them, there’s almost three decades of experience reporting on political campaigns.  Here are their tips for navigating the worlds of…

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Cast your vote for the IRE Board of Directors

Starting today IRE members can vote online for the IRE Board of Directors. Ballots will be sent to the primary e-mail as listed in your membership profile. So far seven people have declared candidacy; six of the board’s 13 seats are up for election this year. To learn more about the candidates, click here. No one has declared candidacy…

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