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Credit: Collage by Courtney Stack, special to ProPublica. Photos by Emil T. Lippe for ProPublica and The Texas Tribune, Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images, Nathanial Schmidt, special to ProPublica

Who’s Trying to Influence Local Elections

Join our reporters and editors for a conversation about the small circles casting a big shadow over local elections.

This donors-only virtual program will provide a closer look at how our reporting is exploring threats to democracy in three communities around the country. During this session, our reporters will examine how a small group of individuals can have a major influence on election results.

Join us for an inside look into:

  • A ProPublica-Texas Tribune report on what appeared to be recent violations of IRS rules prohibiting religious organizations from endorsing candidates. The investigation found the IRS has largely abdicated its enforcement responsibilities as churches have become more brazen.
  • An investigation into the people peddling election conspiracy theories in Wisconsin — including a hypnotherapist, a former state Supreme Court justice and a convicted fraudster — and the effects they’ve had on the voting processes leading up to 2024.
  • An examination of how a powerful Black Democratic incumbent in South Carolina privately worked with Republicans to protect his district, while diluting Black voting power in other parts of the state.

Speakers include:

  • Charles Ornstein, ProPublica managing editor, local
  • George Papajohn, ProPublica Midwest editor
  • Jeremy Schwartz, ProPublica-Texas Tribune investigative unit reporter
  • Marilyn W. Thompson, ProPublica reporter
  • Megan O’Matz, ProPublica reporter
  • Robin Sparkman, ProPublica president
  • Zahira Torres, ProPublica-Texas Tribune investigative unit editor

This event has ended.