• The second installment of the Dallas Morning News' series on special-interest influence in Texas focuses on a chain of hospitals that continues to rake in state funds despite its dismal track record. Texans remain largely unaware of the problems because hospitals are protected by a law that keeps info on inspections and complaints under wraps. In November, ProPublica reported on a nationwide pattern of patient abuse at hospitals owned by the same company, Psychiatric Solutions Inc.
  • Obama's financial team was supposed to ride in on a fleet of white horses to save the day, but an article in today's New York Times could tarnish the reputation of one of his top picks. According to the Times, two lawsuits are alleging that Mary Schapiro, Obama's pick for SEC head, made misleading statements in order to grease the 2007 merger of two regulators. She wound up the head of the resulting organization, a position that came with a 57 percent pay raise. Schapiro's lawyer denied the lawsuits' allegations to the Times.
  • After Obama's countless campaign tirades against lobbyists, Roll Call wonders how they're faring with his transition team. Well, some have been pleasantly surprised by the warm reception, while others have literally been left out in the cold outside the transition office. Several reporters have pointed out that a few of Obama's hires have pushed the limits of his rules for lobbyists in his administration.