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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

White House Wannabes Drawing 2016 Battle Lines In Furious Money Chase

(146) Comments | Posted March 28, 2015 | 7:30 AM

WASHINGTON -- The 2016 presidential election’s “invisible primary” is in full swing as Republican candidates tour the country looking to secure donors for their real or potential campaigns and their super PACs.

“They’re all beating the bush as you’d expect,” said David Herro, a wealthy Chicago-based investor who...

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Anti-Citizens United Activists Get Ready For 2016 Presidential Candidates In Iowa, New Hampshire

(28) Comments | Posted March 20, 2015 | 6:42 PM

WASHINGTON -- As the candidates seeking the 2016 presidential nomination flock to Iowa and New Hampshire, they should be ready to answer questions about the role of big money in politics.

Iowa and New Hampshire, which have, respectively, the nation's first caucus and first primary of the presidential election season,...

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Republicans Heap Money On Rahm Emanuel's Re-election Campaign

(18) Comments | Posted March 19, 2015 | 4:33 PM

WASHINGTON -- Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel received a big cash infusion to a super PAC supporting his re-election bid in the last weeks before the April 7 Democratic Party primary runoff election he faces against Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Standing out among the big contributions to Emanuel’s...

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2016 Candidates Thumb Their Noses At Campaign Finance Rules

(94) Comments | Posted March 18, 2015 | 7:28 AM

WASHINGTON -- Amid a busy schedule of fundraisers and meet-and-greets with party leaders around the country, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) stopped off at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February to tout his battles with liberals and unions. During his sleeves-rolled-up speech, Walker made sure to sneak in some...

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Online Payday Lender Pumped Dark Money Into Effort To Beat Back Regulation

(35) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 7:33 AM

WASHINGTON -- Facing the prospect of imminent oversight by a newly created government regulator, the much-reviled payday loan industry’s lobbying machine surged into action.

The campaign to blunt the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau included the usual monetary contributions to key lawmakers and hiring of well-connected lobbyists. But...

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Tom Cotton: 'No Regrets At All' Over Letter To Iran

(2120) Comments | Posted March 15, 2015 | 11:41 AM

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said on CBS’ "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he had “no regrets at all” over the letter he orchestrated to be sent to Iranian ayatollahs warning them that any deal struck with the Obama administration over their country’s nuclear program could be cancelled...

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Mitch McConnell: 'Very Bad Deal' With Iran Prompted Letter To Ayatollahs

(372) Comments | Posted March 15, 2015 | 10:23 AM

WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called the as-yet-undetermined deal currently being negotiated between the United States, its partner nations and Iran over the latter’s nuclear program a "bad deal” on CNN’s "State of the Union" on Sunday.

“[T]he main point is the president is about to make...

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Trey Gowdy On Hillary Emails: 'We Haven't Seen Any Evidence Of A Crime'

(433) Comments | Posted March 15, 2015 | 9:44 AM

WASHINGTON -- “We haven’t seen any evidence of a crime,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chair of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, said Sunday about Hillary Clinton’s private email use during her service as Secretary of State.

Gowdy was speaking to "Fox News Sunday" days after Clinton responded to...

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Republicans And Iran Deal Opponents Are Funded By The Same Mega-Donors

(146) Comments | Posted March 10, 2015 | 5:48 PM

WASHINGTON -- As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Congress last week, making his case against the deal the U.S. and partner nations are negotiating over Iran's nuclear program, Miriam Adelson -- the wife of billionaire casino operator Sheldon Adelson -- dropped her purple Hermes purse from the...

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Jeb Bush Is Taking Foreign Policy Advice From These Influence Peddlers

(299) Comments | Posted March 5, 2015 | 6:33 AM

WASHINGTON -- After the attempted Christmas Day underwear bombing of a jetliner in 2009, former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff blanketed cable news to reiterate his long-standing support for the adoption of full body scanners at airports. His revelation on CNN that Rapiscan Systems, the manufacturer of those machines, had...

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Nonprofit Tied To John Boehner Attacks His Foes In Homeland Security Fight

(9) Comments | Posted March 3, 2015 | 12:43 PM

WASHINGTON -- The politically active nonprofit closely tied to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is intervening to help the Republican Party leader as he battles conservatives in his own caucus over the passage of appropriations legislation for the Department of Homeland Security.

American Action Network, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that does not...

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The Inside Story Of How Citizens United Has Changed Washington Lawmaking

(326) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 4:00 AM

Lobbyists and trade groups have pumped huge sums into the coffers of super PACs and nonprofits connected to Speaker John Boehner, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ever since the Citizens United decision. (Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty Images)
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Lone Billionaire Hits Much, Much Higher Limit For Campaign Contributions

(117) Comments | Posted February 21, 2015 | 5:01 PM

WASHINGTON -- Ken Griffin, the hedge fund billionaire who once complained about the wealthiest Americans having “insufficient influence” in politics, has become the first -- and so far only -- donor to report giving the maximum amount to a national political party under newly loosened campaign contribution limits.

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GOP Consultant Pleads Guilty In First Super PAC Coordination Conviction

(54) Comments | Posted February 12, 2015 | 4:48 PM

WASHINGTON -- A Republican Party political operative pleaded guilty Thursday to illegally coordinating with a super PAC while he ran a congressional campaign in the 2012 election.

Tyler Harber, 34, campaign manager for Virginia Republican congressional candidate Chris Perkins, used a super PAC he created to spend $325,000...

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2016 Presidential Candidates Use Pre-Announcement Phase To Push Fundraising Limits

(34) Comments | Posted January 31, 2015 | 11:28 AM

WASHINGTON -- The 2016 presidential campaign is already in its beta launch stage, as candidates are beginning to roll themselves out so audiences of party insiders and wealthy donors can test them for bugs. This process also requires a platform to allow access to the candidate during this important, formative...

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Groups With Liberal Ties Tapped To Re-Elect The GOP Establishment

(40) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 6:37 AM

WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) got a boost in the last election from a little-known nonprofit called Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions. The group calls itself conservative, but its support for greater federal funding of alternative energy drew the attention of Tennessee tea party groups,...

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Dem Donors Plot Campaign Battle Against $889 Million Koch Behemoth

(97) Comments | Posted January 28, 2015 | 2:49 PM

WASHINGTON -- Reactions from Democrats to news that the billionaire Koch brothers are planning an $889 million blitz for the 2016 election has run the gamut from outright alarm to shoulder shrugs.

Various top party officials interviewed by The Huffington Post said they expected outside groups and...

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Democrats Link Middle Class Woes To Need For Campaign Finance Reform

(18) Comments | Posted January 21, 2015 | 2:39 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 | 6:32 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

(102) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 4:46 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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