Extra Extra : Campaign Finance

Former county executive continues to rake in the cash

Monroe County Republicans consistently rake in more donations than many other county-level political parties in New York, the Democrat & Chronicle found. Campaign finance reports shed light on one reason for the party's fundraising prowess: Former county executive Jack Doyle. The party contracts with Doyle to work as a fundraiser, county Republican Chairman Bill Reilich said recently. Doyle works on commission, Reilich said, meaning that he earns a percentage of the donations he brings in.

A recent campaign disclosure report shows that the GOP paid Doyle — or John D. Doyle LLC — $45,593 in March for professional services. It was ...

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Politicians' food tab takes $14.5M bite from donations

House members and candidates have spent at least $14.5 million of their donors' campaign contributions on food since Jan. 1, 2011, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

The expenses range from thousands of dollars to underwrite big fundraising lunches in their home districts to meal tabs at country clubs, glitzy New York hotels and Washington steakhouses. Politicians and their aides also spent donors' money at far less glamorous destinations, such as Dunkin' Donuts and Five Guys Burgers and Fries.

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.”