This story was originally published by The Center for Public Integrity, which is a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.
Being a reader and a supporter of the Center for Public Integrity, you see the headlines from us every week about the effects of money's influence on government power.
Just last week, for example, the Center examined the funding sources and top sponsors behind expense-paid seminars for all federal judges. Our investigation revealed that some of the world's largest oil and pharmaceutical companies, including ExxonMobil, Pfizer and BP, and other special interest groups, such as the Koch Foundation, were paying for this judicial travel. In potential conflicts of interest, the report also found instances where judges later ruled in favor of the sponsors of seminars they had attended.
As the tweets, comments and posts came pouring in, it was clear that thousands of readers like you feel strongly that no branch or level of government now seems immune from the influence of money. Here's a selection of what some of you had to say on Twitter:
Sometimes our independent judiciary doesn't look so independent bit.ly/10kGv3x
-- Public Campaign (@publicampaign) March 28, 2013
-- Dave (@Merlyn43) March 28, 2013
Corruption. Justice 4 profit is not justice. RT Corporations, pro-business nonprofits foot bill for judicial seminars publicintegrity.org/2013/03/28/123...
-- DrLearnALot (@DrLearnALot) March 28, 2013
CME isn't just for doctors. Pharma companies also pay for events to train judges as well, reports CPI: ow.ly/jxIDU
-- Alexander Gaffney (@AlecGaffney) March 28, 2013
-- linksteroh (@linksteroh) March 28, 2013
It took a team of eight reporters and editors many months and numerous Freedom of Information Act requests to report this story of corporate influence at the highest levels of the federal judiciary. The Center is dedicated to digging below the surface to produce significant reports like these in the public interest. As you might imagine, it takes considerable resources to review and analyze tens of thousands of documents and volumes of data, conduct scores of interviews and contact more than 40 trip sponsors as well as the judges named in the investigation.
Deep investigative reporting like this requires exceptional support.
Please help keep The Center for Public Integrity's robust investigative work moving forward. The Center does not accept contributions from governments or anonymous sources. We count on support from readers -- citizens like you -- to maintain our no-stone-unturned style of accountability and transparency reporting. Our reporting reaches nearly 300,000 people every month on our website, in our emails, and on social media, and millions more on our media partner websites and in publications across the country and around the world.
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William E. Buzenberg
Copyright 2013 The Center for Public Integrity
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