Extra Extra : Elections

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.

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.”

Felons, dead people are eligible voters on final Palm Beach County roll

"Peter Costello, a felon convicted of racketeering and fraud in 1998, has no right to vote because his civil rights never have been restored.But that didn’t stop the registered Republican from casting a ballot in the Aug. 14 primary, and, he said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post, submitting an absentee ballot for Tuesday’s election."

A total of 31 people out of 870,000 registered in Palm Beach County to vote in the presidential election, were born in the 1800s, the Palm Beach Post's investigation found.

Extra Extra Monday: Political influence, disregarded data, costly inmates

Welcome to IRE's roundup of the weekend’s many enterprise stories from around the country. We’ll highlight the document digging, field work and data
analysis that made their way into centerpieces in print, broadcast and online from coast to coast.

Did we miss some? Let us know.  Send us an email at web@ire.org or tweet to @IRE_NICAR. We’ll add it to the list and spread the word.

The Investigative News Network
Big Political Donors Give Far and Wide, Influence Out-of-State Races and Issues
The focus on billionaires’ and corporations’ contributions to Super PACs this year ...

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