Peter Overby

As NPR's correspondent covering campaign finance and lobbying, Peter Overby totes around a business card that reads Power, Money & Influence Correspondent. Some of his lobbyist sources call it the best job title in Washington.

Overby was awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia silver baton for his coverage of the 2000 campaign and the 2001 Senate vote to tighten the rules on campaign finance. The citation said his reporting "set the bar" for the beat.

In 2008, he teamed up with the Center for Investigative Reporting on the Secret Money Project, an extended multimedia investigation of outside-money groups in federal elections.

Joining with NPR congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook in 2009, Overby helped to produce Dollar Politics, a multimedia examination of the ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, as Congress considered the health-care overhaul bill. The series went on to win the annual award for excellence in Washington-based reporting given by the Radio and Television Correspondents Association.

Because life is about more than politics, even in Washington, Overby has veered off his beat long enough to do a few other stories, including an appreciation of R&B star Jackie Wilson and a look back at an 1887 shooting in the Capitol, when an angry journalist fatally wounded a congressman-turned-lobbyist.

Before coming to NPR in 1994, Overby was senior editor at Common Cause Magazine, where he shared a 1992 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for magazine writing. His work has appeared in publications ranging from the Congressional Quarterly Guide to Congress and Los Angeles Times to the Utne Reader and Reader's Digest (including the large-print edition).

Overby is a Washington-area native and lives in Northern Virginia with his family.

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5:04am

Mon May 4, 2015
Politics

Beyond Quid Pro Quo: What Counts As Political Corruption?

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 7:32 am

Can candidates courting billionaires count as corruption, even if there are no explicit strings attached? Some activists see the campaign contributions of the super-rich as a problem, regardless of whether "quid pro quo" deals are made. Here, activists protest the political influence of the wealthy Koch Brothers near David Koch's Manhattan apartment on June 5, 2014.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The presidential hopefuls haven't spent much time so far with voters. Instead, they've committed many days to courting the millionaires and billionaires who can fuel a White House bid. And at the same time, activists on the left and right are seeking to redefine political corruption, which they believe this is.

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6:58pm

Wed April 29, 2015
It's All Politics

Court: Corporations May Be People, But 'Judges Are Not Politicians'

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 9:11 pm

David Barrows, of Washington, D.C., waves a flag with corporate logos and fake money during a rally against money in politics outside the Supreme Court in 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

If there's one thing that today's Supreme Court doesn't like, it's governmental overreach in regulating political money.

But if there's something the court likes even less, it's the increasing prominence of money in electing America's judges. That's how five justices came to uphold a rule in Florida that prevents judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign cash.

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6:39pm

Mon April 27, 2015
It's All Politics

Fact Check: Is The Clinton Foundation 'The Most Transparent'?

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 11:28 am

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Clinton foundation's Clinton Global Initiative conference with her husband, Bill, and daughter, Chelsea, looking on.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

During the early phase of her presidential run, Hillary Clinton has been dogged by scrutiny of her family's foundation, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The Clintons have pushed back, calling the foundation among the most transparent foundations in the world.

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6:14pm

Fri April 17, 2015
Politics

Hillary Clinton Supports Amendment To Get Hidden Money Out Of Politics

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 12:27 am

"We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccounted money out of it, once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment," Hillary Clinton said at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa Tuesday.
Michael B. Thomas AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton made a surprising move this week. It wasn't running for president — she'd already set the stage for that — but embracing the idea of a constitutional amendment to restrict or eliminate big money in politics.

The notion of amending the Constitution this way has been discussed, literally for decades. But Clinton is joining a new, if small, chorus of prominent politicians who are talking it up.

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10:03am

Wed April 15, 2015
It's All Politics

You Didn't Check The 'Presidential Election Campaign' Box On Your Taxes, Did You?

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:46 pm

iStock

Here's a question for you last-minute tax filers. See that little checkoff box at the top of the 1040 tax form, the one labeled "Presidential Election Campaign"? You didn't check it, did you?

If not, then you're just like pretty much everybody else.

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5:26pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Politics

Presidential Candidates Move Away From Public Financing

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:45 pm

You can still check the box on your 1040 federal income tax return and earmark $3 for presidential public financing. This Watergate-era reform was supposed to push big money out of presidential politics, but so far this cycle, not many people have checked it.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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4:51pm

Mon April 13, 2015
It's All Politics

Who Needs One SuperPAC When You Can Have Four?

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 2:59 pm

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign recently leaked claims that the four superPACs backing him would pull in $31 million in the campaign's first week.
Alex Wong Getty Images

As Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., prepared for his official announcement of a White House run, so had Conservative Solutions PAC. It's a superPAC focused exclusively on helping Rubio reach his goal.

Technically, Conservative Solutions has no ties to Rubio. His campaign can't coordinate messages or strategy with it.

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1:24pm

Thu April 2, 2015
It's All Politics

The Menendez Paradox: Facing Charges After Testifying Against Corruption

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 10:50 pm

Sen. Robert Menendez on his way to the Senate floor for a series of votes last week.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Sen. Bob Menendez, who came up in the sharp-edged politics of Hudson County, N.J., has been under varying levels of ethics scrutiny in seven of his nine-plus years as a senator.

He'd never been indicted — until yesterday.

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4:59pm

Tue March 31, 2015
It's All Politics

Watchdog Groups File Complaints Against Likely Candidates

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 3:30 pm

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is one of four "un-candidates" being targeted by liberal groups Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21. They say the politicians have crossed the line into candidacy based on their activities in recent months.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

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3:44pm

Mon March 30, 2015
It's All Politics

Money Rules: Candidates Go Around The Law, As Cash Records To Be Smashed

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 9:32 am

"Who, me? Run?" Would-be presidential candidates are ditching "testing the waters" and "exploratory committees" to hold onto unlimited and undisclosed cash for longer.
LA Johnson/NPR

This is Part One in an occasional series of features on campaign finance, called "Money Rules."

The hunt for big bucks is changing the way politicians run for president.

When a candidate finally admits he or she is a candidate, donors are limited to gifts of $2,700. (A donor can give an additional $2,700 if the candidate makes it through to the general election.)

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4:22pm

Fri March 13, 2015
It's All Politics

The Rules Don't Apply To Hillary Clinton ... Or Any Of The Other Un-Candidates

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 7:20 pm

Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations on Tuesday in New York City. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as secretary of state.
Yana Paskova Getty Images

Hillary Clinton is, at least for now, not officially running for president. That's what she has said all along, and now all six members of the Federal Election Commission are on record agreeing with her.

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6:53pm

Tue March 3, 2015
It's All Politics

Clinton Foundation Funding Woes Touch Hillary, Too

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 1:21 pm

The Clinton Foundation has taken contributions, of $1 million to $10 million, from the governments of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi Arabian government has given as much as $25 million.
Julie Jacobson AP

With assets approaching $226 million, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation plays a prominent role in international development. It has battled HIV/AIDS, provided relief after tsunamis and earthquakes and helped farmers and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

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2:47pm

Wed February 18, 2015
It's All Politics

2014 Midterm Election Was The Most Expensive One Yet

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:41 pm

Supporters cheer in Colorado Springs, Colo., as a television broadcast declares that Republicans have taken control of the Senate. Republican candidates, party committees and outside groups spent about $44 million more than Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

As the presidential hopefuls chase after big donors, the Center for Responsive Politics brings us a quick look in the rearview mirror:

The 2014 congressional midterm elections cost $3.77 billion, the center says, making them — no surprise here — the most expensive midterms yet. CRP also reports that those dollars appeared to come from a smaller cadre of donors — 773,582, the center says. That's about 5 percent fewer than in the 2010 midterms.

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6:28pm

Tue January 27, 2015
It's All Politics

Koch Brothers Put Price Tag On 2016: $889 Million

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 7:33 pm

Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla., in August 2013.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

The political network led by industrialists Charles and David Koch plans to spend $889 million for the 2016 elections. In modern politics, it's more than just a ton of money.

It's about as much as the entire national Republican Party spent in the last presidential election cycle, four years ago. And as Sheila Krumholz — director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks politicians and donors — pointed out in an interview, it's double what the Koch brothers and their network spent in 2012.

Krumholz summed it up: "It is staggering."

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4:07pm

Mon January 26, 2015
It's All Politics

At Koch Summit, A Freewheeling Debate Among GOP Hopefuls

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:52 pm

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., center, meets with members of the Londonderry Fish and Game Club in Litchfield, N.H., on Jan. 14. Paul was one of three GOP presidential hopefuls who attended Sunday's semiannual gathering of David and Charles Koch's donor network in California.
Jim Cole AP

Three Republican presidential hopefuls declined Sunday night to insult some of the party's biggest donors.

Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, asked by debate moderator Jonathan Karl of ABC News if billionaires now have too much influence in both major parties, agreed that it wasn't a problem — if not exactly for the same reasons.

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