Extra Extra : Elections

Athletes, teams donate big to political campaigns

An investigative team analyzed thousands of financial records from federal, state and local elections and discovered how sports teams, owners and athletes are contributing to political campaigns.

The 10 Investigates team from Tampa Bay and Sarasota’s 10 News found that many of the area’s major teams have contributed political funds – usually toward the state’s dominant party. The experts they interviewed suggest the money is seen as an investment to tip legislators toward passing stadium-friendly legislation.

To read and watch the full story, click here.

Raid on voter registration group leaves lasting impact

As part of its coverage of the Texas governor’s race, The Dallas Morning News investigated a raid of a voter registration group called Houston Votes, which was accused of election fraud.

The previously unreported 2010 raid was initiated by investigators for Attorney General Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor. The investigation was closed one year after the raid, with no charges filed. But for Houston Votes, the damage was done. Its funding dried up, and its efforts to register more low-income voters ended. Its records and office equipment never were returned. Instead, under a 2013 court order obtained ...

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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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Temps with criminal pasts slip by Dallas County officials

"Kelton Bivins came with a slew of criminal charges when he began as a temporary worker in Dallas County’s elections department in January.

Three felonies for allegedly firing five times into an occupied car after police said he shot his cousin twice in the leg. Two charges for beating his girlfriend. Evading arrest. Bivins, 37, also was on probation for a drug charge and served time in the mid-1990s for theft.

But Dallas County officials say they weren’t aware of Bivins’ past and the criminal records of several other temps until learning about them from The Dallas Morning ...

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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.