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Paul Blumenthal
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Paul Blumenthal is a reporter at The Huffington Post covering campaign finance and money-in-politics. His work has appeared on PBS' Frontline, MSNBC, CNN and The New York Times and been included in Principles and Practice of American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 5th Edition and in Transparency International's Global Corruption Report: Climate Change. He previously worked as the senior writer for The Sunlight Foundation.

Entries by Paul Blumenthal

Democrats Link Middle Class Woes To Need For Campaign Finance Reform

(16) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 3:39 PM

WASHINGTON -- On Wednesday, the fifth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, House and Senate Democrats aimed all the spotlights at campaign finance reform. They introduced a dozen bills designed to reduce the influence of money in politics. And they drew a clear line from fixing the electoral...

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5 Years After Citizens United, Money Controls Politics More Than Ever

(10) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 7:32 AM

WASHINGTON -- Five years ago this Wednesday, the Supreme Court overturned two decades of precedent in a bitterly divided 5-4 decision to open the door to unlimited spending by corporations and unions. It was the outcome of a case that began when the conservative nonprofit Citizens United, funded in part...

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Trail To The Chief: Dirty Dozen Donor Edition

(101) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 5:46 AM



The Dirty Dozen Donor Edition


Our inaugural Trail to the Chief ranked presidential candidates. Now we’re free to focus on the real...

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Jeb Bush's Decision To 'Actively Explore' 2016 Run Allows Him To Avoid Super PAC Rules

(96) Comments | Posted January 16, 2015 | 3:23 PM

WASHINGTON -- When former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) waded into the 2016 presidential race in December, he did so with some awkward wording. He stated that he would "actively explore the possibility of running for President of the United States."

This hedged language on the part of...

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Plunge In Wall Street Money Bolsters Populist Shift Among Democrats

(48) Comments | Posted January 10, 2015 | 7:30 AM

WASHINGTON -- With their first act in full control of the new Congress, Republicans tried to push through a bill to delay the Volcker Rule, which limits risky trades by banks. The plan failed as Democrats rallied a majority of their caucus to oppose the measure.

...
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Donors To Michael Grimm, The Convicted Former Congressman, Regret Nothing

(44) Comments | Posted January 7, 2015 | 4:22 PM

WASHINGTON -- There are sound investments. There are risky investments. And then there are investments in individuals facing public disgrace and possible prison time.

Nearly 200 people made that last sort of investment in 2014. They're the folks who gave itemized donations (i.e., donations in the aggregate of more than...

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Christine O'Donnell Sued For Allegedly Breaking Campaign Finance Laws In 2010

(130) Comments | Posted January 6, 2015 | 4:54 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Federal Election Commission filed suit Monday against former Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell for allegedly using campaign funds for personal purposes.

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for Delaware, claims that O'Donnell and then-campaign treasurer Matthew Moran illegally used $20,000 in funds raised...

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Here's Where Campaign Finance Reform May Move Ahead As Congress Dithers

(31) Comments | Posted December 20, 2014 | 7:30 AM

WASHINGTON -- Nearly five years after the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United altered the landscape for money in politics, Congress has done nothing to reverse the ruling's adverse side effects for disclosure and collaboration between independent groups and the candidates they support. A similar degradation of campaign finance rules...

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No One Wants To Take The Blame For The Omnibus Campaign Finance Rider

(39) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 8:41 PM

WASHINGTON -- Facing a tough election landscape this year, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee had to go deep in the red, ending the electoral cycle with roughly $20 million of debt. But not all that money has to be paid off now. And a rider on the omnibus spending bill...

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Democrats Seek To Strip Big Hug For Rich Donors From Omnibus

(167) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 7:53 PM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic lawmakers expressed outrage at a provision slipped into the omnibus government funding bill that would expand the amount wealthy donors can give to national political party committees.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the leader of the House Democrats, called for the provision to be pulled from...

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Omnibus Bill Allows Wealthy Donors To Give Even More to Political Parties

(62) Comments | Posted December 10, 2014 | 1:03 AM

WASHINGTON -- Congressional budget negotiators from both parties have included a provision in the bill to continue funding the government into next year that dramatically changes campaign finance law to allow lawmakers to solicit even bigger contributions from the wealthiest donors.

The omnibus bill includes a provision (on...

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Architects Of CIA Torture Program Raked In $81 Million, Report Reveals

(129) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 7:18 PM

WASHINGTON -- Two psychologists were paid $81 million by the CIA to advise on and help implement its brutal interrogation program targeting detainees in the war on terror, according to the Senate torture report summary released Tuesday.

The contract psychologists are identified with pseudonyms -- Grayson Swigert and Hammond Dunbar...

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These Super PACs Spent Big As Elections Neared, But Kept Donors Secret Until Now

(55) Comments | Posted December 6, 2014 | 7:30 AM

WASHINGTON -- The race to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) in his Los Angeles County district saw very little spending from outside groups -- until the final weeks of the campaign, when two super PACs backing Republican candidate Elan Carr began an advertising blitz.

One of the super PACs,...

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Top Senate Democratic PAC Spent A Lot Of Money Trying To Elect Greg Orman

(2) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 6:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- Independent candidate Greg Orman tried as hard as he could to deflect any suggestion that he was a Democratic Party stalking horse in his ultimately failed bid to defeat Republican incumbent Sen. Pat Roberts in Kansas.

Orman, who faced Roberts one-on-one after the Democratic candidate dropped out, repeatedly...

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Hedge Fund Execs Spent Big In New York Elections, Now Likely To Reap Their Reward

(4) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 3:40 PM

WASHINGTON -- A handful of hedge fund executives aiming to direct more taxpayer money to charter schools pooled their own vast resources to help elect a Republican majority in the New York State Senate last month. They won on election night. Now, it looks like they'll get what they wanted...

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Mitch McConnell Rider Could Roll Back Campaign Finance Laws

(130) Comments | Posted December 1, 2014 | 7:50 PM

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is trying to use a massive appropriations bill to loosen campaign finance rules.

The Republican leader’s office is attempting to attach a policy rider to the omnibus bill that would effectively end limits imposed on coordinated spending by federal candidates and political...

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Zephyr Teachout Keeps Preaching 'We Can Actually Do Something' About Corruption

(9) Comments | Posted November 22, 2014 | 7:30 AM

WASHINGTON -- Earlier this year, Fordham law professor Zephyr Teachout emerged as a political star among progressives when she challenged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in the Democratic primary and performed far better than expected. Teachout received 35 percent of the primary vote and won over 20 counties despite raising...

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Democrats Used Twitter, Too, To Coordinate With Outside Groups

(8) Comments | Posted November 20, 2014 | 4:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- Republican Party committees and outside groups shared polling data over Twitter during the 2014 elections, according to a CNN report on Monday. The purpose was to circumvent federal anti-coordination rules -- and the practice appeared to be part of a growing bipartisan effort to get around...

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Where Campaign Finance Reformers Actually Won On Election Day

(6) Comments | Posted November 14, 2014 | 12:31 PM

WASHINGTON -- Midterm voters boosted Republican power in Arkansas by electing all Republicans to statewide office, enhancing the party's control of the state legislature and sending Rep. Tom Cotton (R) to Washington as their next senator. At the same time, they also voted in support of a broad...

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Remember Who Held Election's Purse Strings As Congress Sets 2015 Agenda

(181) Comments | Posted November 12, 2014 | 7:34 AM

WASHINGTON -- Following the Republican wave that swept away the Democratic Senate majority last week, reporters, advocates and pundits debated the efficacy of the estimated $3.7 billion in political spending shelled out over the past 22 months.

Articles pondered whether all the money spent even mattered....

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