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Local democrats defend the Affordable Care Act on the patio of the DoubleTree Hotel. From left to right: Emily Verdugo, Arizona Democratic Party Latino Caucus chair; attorney Vince Rabago; Pima County Supervisor Richard Elias; and Daniel Hernandez, Sunnyside Governing Board member.

Local Democratic leaders, bristling at new attack ads aimed at convincing the Affordable Care Act was bad for their community, came out to defend the law and and two of Arizona’s congressional representatives, Ron Barber and Ann Kirkpatrick, for their support of Obamacare. Read more»

Clockwise, from left: George Mason University's Arlington campus, where the the School of Law is located, David Koch and Charles Koch

Billionaire industrialists David and Charles Koch may rank among the nation’s biggest bankrollers of conservative causes and Republican campaign vehicles. But Koch proselytizing of government deregulation and pro-business civics is increasingly targeted not just at creatures of Capitol Hill, or couch sitters in swing states, but at the hearts and minds of American college students, as well. Read more»

Obscure limited liability companies have ultimate say over the Koch network’s nonprofits, which spend hundreds of millions of dollars to advance conservative causes. Read more»

Harry Reid (D-NV), United States Senator from Nevada and Majority Leader of the United States Senate

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wrongly blamed the conservative group Americans for Prosperity for promoting a “false” story of a woman whose insurance premiums went up $700 per month. AFP didn’t feature that woman’s story in any of its ads. Read more»

Then-Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, seen here after his election to the Senate, and incumbent Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada benefited from $3.1 million in spending by the groups. Voters in the states had no idea who was funding the attacks because the organizations were not required to reveal their donors.

Two of the tightest races for U.S. Senate in 2012 were in Nevada and Arizona. Republican candidates eked out wins in both states with help from four so-called “dark money” nonprofits, whose funding can be traced back to the network of organizations backed by the Koch brothers. Read more»

Sean Noble

For a brief, giddy moment, Sean Noble—a little-known former aide to an Arizona congressman—became one of the most important people in American politics. Plucked from obscurity by libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, Noble was tasked with distributing a torrent of political money raised by the Koch network, a complex web of nonprofits nicknamed the Kochtopus, into conservative causes in the 2010 and 2012 elections. Read more»

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid

Democrats are fully embracing the independent political money groups they once derided in an effort to retain the Senate this year. Read more»

A conservative group is attacking Democratic Rep. Ron Barber with an ad that claims the Affordable Care Act “means higher costs for struggling families.” It may mean higher costs for some, but hundreds of thousands of state residents are expected to qualify for Medicaid because of the law, and others will qualify for federal subsidies to buy coverage. Read more»

Center for Public Integrity highlights key stories and trends Read more»

National Cable & Telecommunications Association President and CEO Michael Powell

The U.S. cable industry’s largest trade association last year helped bankroll several groups that spent millions of dollars in attempts to defeat President Barack Obama, new disclosures indicate. Read more»

Two Arizona dark money groups linked to conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch have paid a record $1 million in fines to California to settle allegations that the combined $15 million they spent on two ballot proposals in the state was not properly disclosed. Read more»

During the 2012 election cycle, Koch’s support for the GOP surged. Prior to that, nearly two-thirds of his giving benefited Democrats. Source: Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission and Center for Responsive Politics, from January 1989 through June 2013.

Billionaire businessman William Koch once operated green energy plants on multiple continents and had a reputation for being more politically moderate than his better-known brothers, Charles and David — the principal owners of Koch Industries, Inc..But William now rejects the “apocalypse of global warming.” He says investing in alternative energy is “foolhardy.” And ahead of the 2012 election, he criticized President Barack Obama for trying to “socialize” the country. Read more»

Key opponents of gun control and proponents of immigration reform invested unprecedented amounts lobbying Congress this spring, bucking a downward trend among many of the nation’s largest companies and nonprofits,newly released records show. Read more»

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, who signed an order requiring Verizon to give the National Security Agency telephone records for tens of millions of American customers, attended an expense-paid judicial seminar sponsored by a libertarian think tank that featured lectures from a vocal proponent of executive branch powers. Read more»

In the furious fallout from the revelation that the IRS flagged applications from conservative nonprofits for extra review because of their political activity, some points about the big picture — and big donors — have fallen through the cracks. Consider this our Top 6 list of need-to-know facts on social welfare nonprofits, also known as dark money groups because they don’t have to disclose their donors. Read more»

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