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

Jeb Bush: Trump 'Not A Serious Candidate,' But I’d Vote For Him

(3) Comments | Posted November 29, 2015 | 12:21 PM

WASHINGTON -- Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican presidential candidate, attacked billionaire eccentric Donald Trump...

Read Post

Fiorina: It's 'Left-Wing' To Link Planned Parenthood Attack To Videos

(29) Comments | Posted November 29, 2015 | 11:50 AM

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina declared on "Fox News Sunday" that attempts to link...

Read Post

Donald Trump Still Threatening Third-Party Bid

(3) Comments | Posted November 29, 2015 | 10:59 AM

WASHINGTON -- Donald Trump continued to threaten the Republican Party with an independent presidential bid on "Meet the Press" Sunday.

The billionaire eccentric and Republican presidential front-runner answered a question from host Chuck Todd on whether he was flirting with a third-party bid...

Read Post

Donald Trump Keeps Lying About New Jersey 9/11 Celebrations

(5) Comments | Posted November 29, 2015 | 10:27 AM

WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continued to lie about seeing “thousands” of Muslim Americans in New Jersey celebrating after the 9/11 terror attacks.

Appearing by telephone on NBC’s "Meet the Press," Trump was challenged by host Chuck Todd to defend his...

Read Post

Why This New Anti-Trump Group May Not Rewrite Elections

(0) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 12:57 PM

WASHINGTON -- When Republican operatives decided to finally organize an attack on leading presidential candidate Donald Trump, they didn’t launch a super PAC or start a nonprofit. Instead, Trump Card LLC, a limited liability company, was formed. Could this be the start of a...

Read Post

Former Koch Dark Money Group Targets Ted Cruz In Iowa

(1) Comments | Posted November 24, 2015 | 10:41 AM

WASHINGTON -- The proxy battle between Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) in the Republican presidential primary heated up on Tuesday as an Arizona-based nonprofit launched a new advertising campaign in Iowa against Cruz.

American Encore has purchased at least $55,000 worth of ad space on broadcast stations in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, and plans to spend up to $200,000. The ad uses footage from the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris to pivot to an attack on Cruz for supporting the USA Freedom Act of 2015, which the ad states was crafted to “weaken America’s ability to identify and hunt down terrorists.”

The group, previously known as the Center to Protect Patient Rights, is headed by Sean Noble, a former major player in the Koch political universe. Noble was reportedly ejected from the Koch network after a poor electoral showing in 2012 and an involvement in funneling $11 million through his organization into a California ballot initiative campaign that led to a high-profile investigation. There were also concerns that he was diverting large sums to his consulting firm to greatly enrich himself. 

After the break with the Kochs, his nonprofit rebranded to American Encore and became a major political player in Arizona’s state politics. The group spent millions on electoral and issue advertising in Arizona’s 2014 elections to help elect Gov. Doug Ducey (R), all without disclosing the donors behind the spending -- a practice known as “dark money.”

Now, Noble’s group is joining the presidential campaign behind Rubio. While the advertisement does not mention Rubio, Noble is a public supporter of the freshman Florida senator. Rubio is also a co-sponsor of legislation introduced by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) to delay the USA Freedom Act’s suspension of the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone metadata.

The ad comes at a moment when Rubio and Cruz, according to the HuffPost Pollster average, occupy the third and fourth poll positions, respectively, behind the non-politician front-runners, billionaire eccentric Donald Trump and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Rubio’s campaign has benefited from the spending of dark money more than any other presidential campaign. On top of the $200,000 in planned spending by American Encore, the nonprofit group Conservative Solutions Project has spent more than $8 million on issue advertising promoting...

Read Post

This Website Is Making It Super Easy To Donate To Democrats

(1) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 3:08 PM

WASHINGTON -- In September, a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC sent out an email that sought to tie Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to deceased Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. The Sanders campaign turned the attack around with a fundraising...

Read Post

Karl Rove's Group Funneled Dark Money To Help Elect GOP Senate

(2) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 4:04 PM

WASHINGTON -- Crossroads GPS, the politically active nonprofit co-founded by Republican political strategist Karl Rove, raised $69 million and made large contributions to other groups in 2014, according to a tax form disclosed on Tuesday.

The group’s fundraising...

Read Post

The Kochs' Dark Money Reaches All The Way To NRA, Religious Groups

(3) Comments | Posted November 17, 2015 | 1:48 PM

WASHINGTON -- The main arm of the political network operated by billionaire conservatives Charles and David Koch raised $126 million in 2014 and distributed millions to more than 20 other groups active in last year's midterm elections.

According to an annual tax filing posted Tuesday...

Read Post

Post-9/11 Rebuilding Isn't The Only Reason Hedge Funds Support Hillary Clinton

(1) Comments | Posted November 16, 2015 | 7:30 PM

WASHINGTON -- Hillary Clinton argued during Saturday’s Democratic presidential debate that she could take a hard...

Read Post

How Super PACs And Campaigns Are Coordinating In 2016

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2015 | 2:52 PM

WASHINGTON -- The role of single-candidate super PACs has expanded exponentially in the 2016 presidential campaign. Candidates have become increasingly reliant and entwined with these committees, which can raise unlimited sums of money from most any source.

Created in the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens...

Read Post

FEC Deadlocks On Whether Candidates Can Coordinate With Their Own Super PACs

(0) Comments | Posted November 10, 2015 | 5:25 PM

WASHINGTON -- A request to relax limits on coordination between candidates and super PACs left the Federal Election Commission divided and, at times, confused at a hearing on Tuesday.

Marc Elias, lawyer for House Majority PAC and Senate Majority PAC, laid out

Read Post

Harry Reid Joins Call For Obama To Take Action On Dark Money

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2015 | 6:21 PM

WASHINGTON -- Democratic lawmakers, joined for the first time by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), have a message for President Barack Obama: Sign an executive order requiring federal contractors to disclose their political contributions, including those to groups not bound by campaign finance disclosure laws.


Read Post

Campaign Finance Reform Gets A Boost From Former Lawmakers

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2015 | 7:12 PM

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan coalition of more than 100 former members of Congress, governors and cabinet secretaries joined together on Thursday to announce their support for a campaign finance reform agenda.

The group of former officials called the ReFormers Caucus, organized...

Read Post

Maine, Seattle Pave Next Path For Campaign Finance Reform

(2) Comments | Posted November 4, 2015 | 9:23 AM

WASHINGTON -- Voters in Seattle and Maine went to the polls Tuesday night and supported ballot initiatives to reform their campaign finance laws and expand the role of small donors in elections.

Maine voters backed by 55 percent an initiative that updated...

Read Post

Maine Backs Post-Citizens United Campaign Finance Initiative

(0) Comments | Posted November 3, 2015 | 9:25 PM

WASHINGTON -- Maine voters backed a ballot initiative on Tuesday to update the state’s 19-year-old system of publicly financing campaigns. Fifty-five percent of voters supported the initiative, and 45 percent opposed it.

The newly enacted initiative will fix problems with the...

Read Post

Anthony Kennedy's Citizens United Disclosure Salve 'Not Working'

(3) Comments | Posted November 2, 2015 | 3:16 PM

WASHINGTON -- When Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy penned the 2010 Citizens United decision allowing corporations and unions to spend unlimited sums of money on elections, he did so with a promise that instant disclosure of election spending over the Internet would be enough to prevent corruption.


Read Post

Your State And Local Elections Are Now A Super PAC Playground

(1) Comments | Posted October 30, 2015 | 5:21 PM

WASHINGTON -- The influence of billionaires in the post-Citizens United era is in no way limited to the 2016 presidential and congressional elections.

While the super-wealthy dominate those races, local and state elections in 2015 are also attracting big money from Forbes-listed...

Read Post

Corporate Lobbyists Continue Fight Against Transparency

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 1:20 PM

WASHINGTON -- As more and more corporations adopt rules governing their political activity, large trade associations engaged in Washington lobbying are pushing back.

Since 2013, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable have been...

Read Post

Donald Trump Takes Aim At Rivals' Super PAC Support

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 2:44 PM

WASHINGTON -- Billionaire eccentric and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Monday called on all presidential candidates to disavow support they receive from super PACs.

In a series of tweets, Trump called the unlimited-money super PACs a “scam” and wrote, “All Presidential candidates should immediately disavow their...

Read Post