Newspaper Stories

Roll Call | High Dollar Fundraising Makes a Comeback

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, July 8, 2015

Thirteen years ago, following a string of scandals that included Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers to reward big donors, Congress banned lawmakers from raising the unlimited campaign checks known as soft money.

Now, soft money is back with a vengeance, just in a different guise.

Back then, elected officials scooped up hundreds of millions directly from corporate and labor titans for their parties, often in exchange for special access and legislative favors. Then-Sen. Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who co-authored the soft money ban with Arizona Republican John McCain, called it “legalized bribery.” Continue Reading …

Roll Call | Billionaire Boys Club: Congress’ Top Super PAC Donors

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Nov. 3, 2104

Dubbed the “billionaire election” by some, these midterms have featured more money than ever spent by the wealthiest Americans and less by small donors. Big-spending outside groups are distilling an already elite donor pool even further, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and the overall number of individual donors has declined for the first time.

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Roll Call | Koch Lobbying Nears $10 Million

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Oct. 24, 2104

Charles and David Koch are best known for their big political spending, but public records show the billionaire industrialists have also invested close to $10 million on lobbying Congress this year, targeting such issues as carbon taxes, renewable fuel standards, greenhouse gas restrictions and campaign financing.

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Roll Call | FEC Clears Campaigns to Solicit Bitcoins

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, May 8, 2104

The Federal Election Commission has unanimously ruled to permit the use of bitcoins for political contributions, a move that lends legitimacy to the virtual currency but leaves unclear how valuable or useful bitcoins will prove to be in elections.

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Roll Call | Business Bid to Counter Tea Party Fizzles

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Feb. 5, 2014

Business-friendly GOP organizers who launched a new crop of super PACs to counter the tea party have failed to cash in, recent campaign disclosures show, leaving them badly outspent on both the right and the left.

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Roll Call | Super PAC, Outside Spending Chiefs Make Big Bucks

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Jan. 14, 2014

Recently released tax forms shed light on the big salaries that an elite corps of political organizers earned during the 2012 elections – and those who made the most often boasted the fewest wins.

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Roll Call | Keystone Fight Escalates In Final Phase

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, March 15, 2013

As the totemic fight over the Keystone XL oil pipeline enters its crucial, final phase, backers and detractors of the project have escalated their pressure on President Barack Obama, who has the final say but remains noncommittal.

Environmental activists have set out to generate 1 million opposing public comments to the State Department, which is in the process of deciding whether the pipeline is in the national interest. Opponents have engaged in civil disobedience and mass protests during a multiyear campaign to block the project, which has emerged as a flash point for environmental lobby frustration. They’re even trailing Obama with mini-protests at his stops at home and abroad.

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Roll Call | Defense Lobby Faces Moment of Truth

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, March 3, 2013

The once-mighty defense lobby’s failure to head off some $500 billion in Pentagon cuts marks a moment of truth for an industry that has lost clout and allies on Capitol Hill, probably for good.

“They’ve been to the mountaintop, and they know they’re not there anymore,” said Loren Thompson, chief operating officer of the conservative think tank the Lexington Institute. “I think the companies are trying to figure some way out of this dilemma, but they’re feeling trapped.”

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Roll Call | Members’ PACs Test Unregulated Spending

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Oct. 9. 2012

In this cycle’s costliest and most competitive House and Senate races, Members of Congress are deploying a little-noticed but influential weapon: their personal political action committees, typically known as leadership PACs.

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Roll Call | Using Super PACs to Get Rid of Super PACs

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, May 8, 2012

Want to get big money out of politics? Set up a super PAC.

That seemingly incongruous formula has been seized on by a growing number of watchdog groups, self-styled reformers and student activists who have set up more than a dozen super PACs aimed at putting a stop to unrestricted campaign spending.

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Roll Call | Changing Times for U.S. Chamber of Commerce

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, April 24, 2012

U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas Donohue had much to celebrate when the business lobby marked its centennial last weekend. He also had cause for alarm.

The chamber has unleashed its costliest, most ambitious political mobilization effort ever, targeting about a dozen Senate and more than 50 House races in a campaign that, by some estimates, will top $50 million. It’s also spent more than $86 million on lobbying since the beginning of last year, outpacing all other advocacy groups.

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Roll Call | Job Boom Seen in One Area: Politics

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Sept. 8, 2011

Most Republican political operatives these days argue that President Barack Obama’s jobs agenda is a flop. But over at the GOP consulting firm the Black Rock Group, where business is booming thanks to rising campaign spending, partner Brian Jones admits that political consultants are having no trouble finding work.

“This is one area where President Obama’s policies do seem to be creating jobs,” quipped Jones, his tongue firmly in his cheek.

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Roll Call | Tangled Ties of Super PACs

By Eliza Newlin Carney, Roll Call Staff, Jan. 17, 2012

Super PACs are pouring tens of millions of dollars into the 2012 election season — and a healthy percentage of it into the pockets of friends, family members and business associates who serve as consultants and vendors to the political action committees.

As super PACs steer big money to media strategists, pollsters and advertisers, some consultants worry that the little-regulated groups are creating fresh avenues for conflicts, self-dealing and ethics controversies.

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