iOS app Android app

Paul Blumenthal
GET UPDATES FROM Paul Blumenthal
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

Senate Candidates Actually Debate The Insidious Influence Of Money In Politics

(18) Comments | Posted October 17, 2014 | 7:35 AM

WASHINGTON -- The influence of money in politics was long treated as a side issue during the campaign season. But this year, in at least a half-dozen Senate races, large contributions to and big spending by independent super PACs and nonprofits have featured as key topics in candidate debates.


Read Post

Democrats, Republicans Take Advantage Of New Big-Money Rules

(18) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 9:08 PM

WASHINGTON -- Both the Republican and Democratic parties are raising historic sums from single donors for the 2014 midterm elections under new rules resulting from a major Supreme Court ruling in April.

The Supreme Court's McCutcheon decision struck down aggregate campaign contribution limits that prevented a single donor...

Read Post

Koch Brothers Reveal A Small Slice Of Their Political Donations

(83) Comments | Posted October 15, 2014 | 6:36 PM

WASHINGTON -- Charles and David Koch have finally disclosed at least a small portion of the large contributions given to their political empire. According to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday, each of the billionaire brothers gave $2 million to Freedom Partners Action Fund,...

Read Post

Dark Money Concentrates In Small Number of Pivotal 2014 Races

(33) Comments | Posted October 15, 2014 | 6:03 PM

WASHINGTON -- As independent spending by nonprofit groups that fail to disclose their donors approaches $200 million in the 2014 midterm elections, it is increasingly evident that this spending is meant to influence only a handful of races.

This dark money spending -- so-called because it is not...

Read Post

Fishy Money Fuels Super PACs In Alaska Senate Race

(40) Comments | Posted October 11, 2014 | 10:27 AM

WASHINGTON -- Outside super PACs have played a major role supporting Sen. Mark Begich (D) as he faces a tough re-election race against former Alaska Natural Resources commissioner Dan Sullivan (R). These groups have already pumped $13.8 million into the state to support the first-term senator, according to...

Read Post

How Will Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS Stay Within The Law In 2014?

(41) Comments | Posted October 8, 2014 | 4:55 PM

WASHINGTON -- Crossroads GPS, the political nonprofit founded by Karl Rove in 2010, announced on Oct. 3 that it has raised $75 million in 2014, just as it begins a massive advertising campaign targeting Democratic candidates for Senate. The group said it plans to spend at...

Read Post

Unlikely South Dakota Senate Race Attracts Big Money From Campaign Finance Reformers

(18) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 6:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- The "super PAC to end all super PACs" is making its second-biggest foray into 2014 elections with a $1 million expenditure supporting Democrat Rick Weiland’s Senate bid in South Dakota.

Mayday PAC, founded by Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, made the investment as Weiland has failed...

Read Post

Crowdpac Helps Small Donors Find A Perfect Match In Politics

(7) Comments | Posted October 7, 2014 | 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON -- Combining a unique data set with a nonpartisan outlook, a new organization called Crowdpac hopes to break out of the pack of political campaign innovators with a feature that helps ordinary people find and contribute to candidates who share their views.

Crowdpac, an online and open...

Read Post

Mary Landrieu's Fossil Fuel Stance Both A Blessing And A Curse In 2014 Election Bid

(19) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 1:51 PM

WASHINGTON -- For Louisiana, the fossil fuel industry is both a blessing and a curse.

More than 300,000 people in the state are employed in the oil and gas sector, which provides tens of billions in tax revenue. The state hosts 19 oil refineries, second only to Texas, and...

Read Post

Top Billionaire Campaign Donors Favor Republicans In 2014

(479) Comments | Posted September 26, 2014 | 8:58 PM

WASHINGTON -- The wealthiest Americans are playing a larger role in politics these days, thanks to campaign finance laws loosened by the Supreme Court's conservative majority. Billionaires can now make unlimited contributions to super PACs, or, if they prefer discretion, to nonprofit groups that don't disclose their donors.

Read Post

Where Billionaires Are Placing Bets In This Year's Elections

(99) Comments | Posted September 25, 2014 | 7:34 AM

WASHINGTON -- As the Democratic Party works to hold control of the U.S. Senate for the final two years of Barack Obama's presidency, a key strategy for November's elections seeks to tie Republican challengers to policies advocated by billionaire donors, especially brothers Charles and David Koch.


Read Post

Surprise! House And Senate Fundraising Drops Ahead of 2014 Election, And Here's Why

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 7:37 AM

WASHINGTON -- It may come as a surprise, but politicians running for Congress have raised less money for November's midterm elections than they had raised at this point in the 2010 cycle.

According to data released Tuesday by the Federal Election Commission, congressional candidates pulled in $1.143 billion...

Read Post

Koch Central Bank Freedom Partners Distributed Millions In Dark Money In 2013

(181) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 12:26 AM

WASHINGTON -- Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the central hub of the political empire of the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, reported raising $57.5 million in 2013 and disbursing $41.7 million to organizations in the Koch network.

Freedom Partners, founded under the radar in 2011,...

Read Post

Dark Money Groups That Spent Millions In 2012 Vanish In 2014

(13) Comments | Posted September 12, 2014 | 7:32 AM

WASHINGTON -- The Iowa-based conservative nonprofit group American Future Fund released new advertisements nearly every week from the spring of 2012 through Election Day that year, hitting President Barack Obama or Democratic Senate candidates in competitive races. By mid-September, the group had spent $9.5 million. It went on to spend...

Read Post

Koch Brothers' Real Fear Revealed In Secret Audio: Liberal Money

(819) Comments | Posted September 9, 2014 | 12:47 PM

Charles and David Koch may be annoyed at Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has made it his mission to elevate the billionaire industrialist brothers to the highest level of political villainy. But when it comes down to it, the biggest issue weighing on the Kochs' network of wealthy...

Read Post

Is Washington The Only Place Where Campaign Finance Is A Partisan Issue?

(18) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 8:02 PM

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Monday to debate a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision and allowing Congress and the states to enhance limits on the amount of money raised and spent in elections. The proposed amendment is nearly universally supported by Democrats and...

Read Post

Democrats Ramp Up Dark Money Fight With Constitutional Amendment Bid

(138) Comments | Posted September 8, 2014 | 7:07 PM

WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats took the first step to try and stem the flood of unregulated dark money that's swamped politics since 2010, with a first procedural vote on a constitutional amendment to allow stronger regulation of campaign finances.

The unregulated cash spigot opened in 2010, when the...

Read Post

It's Time To Name The 2014 Midterms The Dark Money Election

(381) Comments | Posted September 4, 2014 | 7:43 AM

WASHINGTON -- If 2012 was the super PAC election, the 2014 midterms look to be the dark money election. Spending on ads that named federal candidates by nonprofit organizations, which are not required to disclose their donors, has soared in the months leading up to November.

Dark money groups...

Read Post

Corporate PACs Stick With Senate Democrats In Tough Races So Far

(190) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 7:35 AM

WASHINGTON -- In the most heavily contested Senate races over seats now held by Democrats, corporations and business trade associations are largely sticking with the Democrats as they dole out funds from their political action committees.

A review of Federal Election Commission records by The Huffington Post found that PACs...

Read Post

Facebook Is Quietly Making Friends With State Lawmakers Across The Country

(6) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 7:41 AM

WASHINGTON -- Just hours after Facebook officially went public on the New York Stock Exchange on May 18, 2012, Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber (D) signed a bill that granted the multibillion-dollar company an enormous tax break on its data center in Prineville, Oregon.

The legislation, dubbed the "Facebook...

Read Post