Kim Barker


Kim Barker was a reporter covering campaign finance and the aftermath of the BP oil spill; her stories have run in outlets such as The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Salon. She specialized in "dark money," or social welfare nonprofits that do not report their donors for election ads. In late 2009 and early 2010, Barker was the Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, where she studied, wrote and lectured on Pakistan and Afghanistan and U.S. policy. She was the South Asia bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune from 2004 to 2009 and was based in New Delhi and Islamabad. At the Tribune, Barker covered major stories such as the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and rising militancy in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Her book about those years, "The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan," was published by Doubleday in March 2011.

Pro-Troop Charity Misleads Donors While Lining Political Consultants' Pockets

Move America Forward has collected millions to send care packages to U.S. troops. But its appeals often rely on images and stories borrowed without permission, and its assets have been used to benefit political consulting firms and PACs.

Dark Money Group Sues IRS Over Targeting, Disclosure

Freedom Path was launched by backers of Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and ran ads supporting Hatch and other Republicans in 2012. It said it suffered damages because the IRS flagged its application for extra scrutiny and disclosed its pending application to ProPublica.

Liberal Outside Money Groups Spend Big in North Carolina

Liberal spending via dark money groups and super PACs was relatively modest in 2012. But their spending has taken off this year in at least one state.

What Happens When a Dark Money Group Blows Off IRS Rules? Nothing.

The Government Integrity Fund spent most of its money on election ads, despite IRS rules prohibiting a social welfare nonprofit from doing so.

What Newly Released Docs Tell Us About the IRS and How It Handles Dark Money Groups

Here are five takeaways ProPublica found from the documents released Wednesday by a House committee.

Who Controls the Kochs’ Political Network? ASMI, SLAH and TOHE

Obscure limited liability companies have ultimate say over the Koch network’s nonprofits, which spend hundreds of millions of dollars to advance conservative causes.

The Dark Money Man: How Sean Noble Moved the Kochs’ Cash into Politics and Made Millions

Sean Noble was a former congressional aide just starting as a political consultant when he was recruited to help run the Kochtopus — Charles and David Koch’s multi-layered political network.

The IRS Moves to Limit Dark Money – But Enforcement Still a Question

The proposed regulations could dramatically limit how nonprofits spend money. But the proposals aren’t a done deal, and it’s not clear whether groups would comply.

New Tax Return Shows Karl Rove’s Group Spent Even More On Politics Than It Said

The $26.4 million grant from Rove’s dark money giant, Crossroads GPS, to Americans for Tax Reform was supposed to be spent on social welfare and education. Instead, records show, at least $11.2 million of that grant money went to politics.

Crossroads’ Tax Return Shows Big Donors, But Doesn’t Name Them

The biggest dark money group, launched by Republican strategist Karl Rove, shows in its tax filing that it got one donation of nearly $23 million and another of $18 million. (Donors names not included.)

Dark Money Groups Pay $1 Million in Fines in California Case

Two groups linked to the Koch brothers admit they did not properly disclose contributions for state ballot measures. One says it did so inadvertently, blaming its unfamiliarity with California’s rules.

Dark Money Operative Sees Hope for Meth House Documents Go Up in Smoke

In a sharply worded ruling, a federal judge in Montana ruled that documents found inside a Colorado meth house pointing to possible election law violations will not be returned to the couple claiming the papers were stolen from one of their cars. Instead, they'll remain with a grand jury.

D’Oh! 'America Is Not Stupid' Wins IRS Recognition as Tax-Exempt Nonprofit

Tax regulators recognize two related dark money groups, even though they appear to have made misleading statements on their applications for tax-exempt status.

Shutdown Prompts Rare Government Mix: Imagination and Laughter

A Health and Human Services official, unable to attend a clinical drug trial conference, still made an appearance.

Six Facts Lost in the IRS Scandal

As Congress probes why the IRS flagged Tea Party applications, we offer some context on the rise of political social welfare nonprofits.

How the IRS’s Nonprofit Division Got So Dysfunctional

The IRS division responsible for flagging Tea Party groups has long been an agency afterthought, beset by mismanagement and financial constraints.

IRS Office That Targeted Tea Party Also Disclosed Confidential Docs From Conservative Groups

The IRS’s Cincinnati office last year sent ProPublica the unapproved applications for several conservative groups.

Inside Game: Creating PACs and then Spending Their Money

The California consulting firm Russo, Marsh and Associates has tapped into Tea Party true believers, and made millions as a result.

IRS Should Bar Dark Money Groups From Funding Political Ads, Lawsuit Says

A former Illinois congressional candidate joins forces with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington to challenge IRS oversight of social welfare nonprofits.

Controversial Dark Money Group Among Five That Told IRS They Would Stay Out of Politics, Then Didn't

Americans for Responsible Leadership, which California officials have accused of "campaign money laundering," promised the IRS it would not engage in elections, a confidential filing shows.

Follow ProPublica

Latest Stories from ProPublica