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Original journalism from the Center's OpenSecrets Blog

Harry Reid’s retiring? Enter piles of dark money

August 19, 2016 | Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s looming retirement leaves quite the vacuum to fill in Nevada. The contest to replace one of the body’s longest-serving Democrats is labeled a toss-up between former Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto (D) and Republican Rep. Joe Heck. And with Heck running for a promotion, he leaves behind an open playing field for his District…

Getting schooled: 1 in 10 members of Congress has student loan debt

December 1, 2015 | While more than half of federal lawmakers are millionaires and their combined median net worth shot up 6.7 percent between 2013 and 2014, there’s at least one way in which many members of Congress can understand the plight of millions of Americans: They owe tens of thousands of dollars in student loans. With the astronomical…

Pro-Tillis dark money group funded entirely by Crossroads GPS

November 17, 2015 | 11/17/2015, 4:12 PM: This post has been updated to build on the breaking news from this morning’s report. One of the largest and most prolific politically active nonprofits in the country was virtually the sole backer of Carolina Rising, the group that spent $4.7 million on ads supporting now-Sen. Thom Tillis’ successful run to unseat…

In classic battle, minimum wage movement pits labor against business

November 12, 2015 | Fast food and other low-wage workers took to the streets of cities across the country this week to demand a minimum wage of $15, earning the support of liberal mayors, governors and even presidential candidates. In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo stood with the “Fight for $15” crusade, announcing he would take executive action…

With a gun lobby lock on Congress, Clinton would try executive action

October 5, 2015 | Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton's plan for cracking down on gun violence faces long odds given a Congress that has largely failed to pass gun control legislation for years and receives millions of dollars from gun rights groups every election cycle.

Money Won on Tuesday, But Rules of the Game Changed

November 5, 2014 | Republicans made the most of their fundraising advantage and routed Democrats in Tuesday’s midterms, but they seized the majority in the Senate and built their lead in the House even as fewer donors participated in the process and more of the dollars came from secret sources. Democrats weren’t swamped when it came to the money…

Mass Appeal: Who’s on Top With Coveted Small Donors

November 4, 2014 | Complaining about about seven-figure donors to gargantuan outside spending groups has become almost as commonplace as griping about the weather. But that doesn’t mean the little guy doesn’t count. OpenSecrets Blog looked at the top 10 senators and House members who received the most money in small donations ($200 and less) as a share of the…

In One-Quarter of Senate Races, Candidates Spend Less Than Groups

November 4, 2014 | Outside spending by super PACs and 501(c) groups has outpaced candidate expenditures in a quarter of the Senate races this cycle, and in 17 total congressional races. As outside spending has climbed above the numbers logged in comparable election cycles, so too has the number of races in which outside money has outpaced candidate spending. During…

As FEC Window Opened, Subjects of Dark Money “Issue Ads” Became Targets for Defeat

November 3, 2014 | It’s official. Today, spending by “dark money” organizations on congressional elections surpassed that of all previous cycles. At $169.2 million so far, money spent by these groups that don’t disclose their donors handily outpaces 2010’s previous record for a midterm election, where dark money spending topped out at $135 million. It even, albeit barely, tops the $168.6 million spent…

Straw Into Gold: Candidates Trading Leadership PAC Dollars for Campaign Cash

October 31, 2014 | This story is cross-posted at TIME.com With just a few days remaining in the first quarter of 2014, Mary Landrieu did something generous: The embattled Democratic senator from Louisiana, herself in the midst of an exceedingly tough re-election race, used her leadership PAC to give $5,000 to the campaign of Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who…

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