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The Breakdown

How politics and government really work, and why they don’t.

Our series seeks to show how politics and government really work, and why they don’t.

Road Hazard: How the ‘Embarrassing’ Gas Tax Impasse Explains Washington

The main federal fund for roads and bridges runs at a deep deficit. If even red states can raise the gas tax, why can’t Congress?

As Hollywood Lobbied State Department, It Built Free Home Theaters for U.S. Embassies

Four U.S. Embassies got upgraded screening rooms last year, paid for by the lobbying arm of the big studios. The industry and the government say there were no strings attached.

Hacked Sony Emails Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Political Dealings in L.A.

A Los Angeles politician cast a critical 'yes' vote months after the chief executive of Sony Pictures arranged a $25,000 corporate contribution to a super PAC.

Higher Ed Lobby Quietly Joins For-Profit Schools to Roll Back Tighter Rules

Traditional colleges and universities have become unlikely allies of the beleaguered for-profit industry as each group tries to fend off the government’s push for more accountability.

Rapid Rise in Super PACs Dominated by Single Donors

Super PACS that get nearly all of their money from one donor quadrupled their share of overall fund-raising in 2014.

Private Emails Reveal Ex-Clinton Aide’s Secret Spy Network

Emails disclosed by a hacker show a close family friend was funneling intelligence about the crisis in Libya directly to the Secretary of State’s private account starting before the Benghazi attack.

Super PAC Men: How Political Consultants Took a Texas Oilman on a Wild Ride

The head of a Texas oil dynasty joined the parade of wealthy political donors, aiming to flip the Senate to Republicans. By the time consultants were done with him, the war chest was drained and fraud allegations were flying.

Hillary Clinton's Top Five Clashes Over Secrecy

The latest flap over her private emails as secretary of state is far from the first time she's been accused of lacking transparency.

Echoes of Hillary’s Past as Emails Put Her on Defensive

Hillary Clinton's defense of her use of personal emails while she was secretary of state triggers memories of the "pink press conference" during the Whitewater investigation.

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