Buying Your Vote

Dark Money and Big Data

A series of court rulings led to the creation of super PACs and an influx of “dark money” into politics, fundamentally changing how elections work. ProPublica is following the money and exploring campaign issues you won't read about elsewhere.

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.

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.

Senator Pushes for Investigation of ‘False Statements’ by Dark Money Groups

If the IRS is not well-suited to investigate these “plain vanilla criminal cases,” the U.S. Department of Justice should, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse said.

Voter Information Wars: Will the GOP Team Up With Wal-Mart’s Data Specialist?

The 2012 Obama campaign set the bar for the use of voter data. The Republicans aren't interested in being beaten again.

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.

From Citizens United to Super PACs: A Campaign Finance Reading Guide

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging caps on overall campaign contributions. We roundup the most important stories on campaign finance, and the dark money groups that don’t have to report their donors.

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.

Can Vote-By-Mail Fix Those Long Lines At The Polls?

A big potential drawback to the convenience of absentee and mail voting: Studies show that ballots are rejected at a higher rate than for voters who brave the wait at polling places.

Big Corporations Put Up Seed Funding for Republican Dark Money Group

IRS files show that some of the biggest companies in the country provided more than a million dollars a decade ago to launch a Republican dark money group.

Obama Says We Need to Fix Voting Lines. But How?

Researchers say simply expanding voting hours and shortening ballots isn’t enough. The U.S. needs to overhaul how they decide to allocate resources on Election Day.

The Best Reporting on Redistricting Shenanigans (#MuckReads)

We’ve rounded up some of the best reporting on how the parties have tried to influence both congressional and state electoral maps — and, in most cases, gotten away with it — for political gain.

Four Graphs That Show How Democrats Predict Your Political Beliefs

Little pieces of data about individual voters add up to a powerful big picture for state Democratic parties

In Minnesota, Democratic Grandmas Gather Data About Their Neighbors

From the campaign sign on your lawn to what you write in a letter to the editor, your political opinions are being recorded in party databases — and then shared in ways you might not expect.

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.

In Montana, Dark Money Helped Democrats Hold a Key Senate Seat

With control of the Senate at stake, liberals hit the streets and bought ads for a libertarian candidate who likely siphoned crucial votes away from the Republican challenger.

How Much Did Sheldon Adelson Really Spend on Campaign 2012?

Because of dark money, we may never know. But recent campaign finance filings give us a better idea.

Karl Rove's Dark Money Group Promised IRS It Would Spend 'Limited' Money on Elections

Crossroads GPS, which has spent tens of millions from secret donors on elections, told the IRS in its 2010 application that its efforts would focus on education, policy-making and research.

Are Voter ID Laws Here to Stay?

The elections saw a furor over voter ID laws. So what's next for the laws?

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