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Politics

Series

The Money Game

Tracking the Illinois Governor’s Race

Politic-IL Insider

Analysis of Illinois’ Political Issues and Personalities

Electionland

Monitoring Access to the Vote in Real Time

Free the Files

Help Unlock Election Spending

Buying Your Vote

Dark Money and Big Data

Stories

How Mitch McConnell Made Donald Trump

The president owes both his election and his long-term impact to the Senate majority leader, who not only engineered the strategy that will let Trump make two Supreme Court appointments, but also created the circumstances that facilitated his rise. 

How Voting Laws Have Changed Since 2016

See the new legislation and legal cases in your state that have the potential to change how you vote this November.

What You Need to Know About Wilbur Ross’ Many Conflicts — “Trump, Inc.” Podcast

We spoke with Forbes’ Dan Alexander about Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

How the Case for Voter Fraud Was Tested — and Utterly Failed

From a new Supreme Court ruling to a census question about citizenship, the campaign against illegal registration is thriving. But when the top proponent was challenged in a Kansas courtroom to prove that such fraud is rampant, the claims went up in smoke.

West Virginia Paid for a CEO to Go on a Trade Delegation to China. Turns Out, He Was Promoting His Company’s Interests, Too.

An executive accompanied state officials to China for a ceremony with President Donald Trump to sign a landmark deal last year. He also pushed his company’s interests, which the governor said Friday was not acceptable.

Facebook’s Screening for Political Ads Nabs News Sites Instead of Politicians

The social network is letting some political ads slip through without the required verification, while blocking promotional posts by news organizations, which are pushing back.

The Administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel Keeps Monitoring Protesters

Chicago police and City Hall tracked anti-Trump demonstrators — and now state legislators want to let them use drones.

New in the Congress API: Lobbying Registrations and More

Our Congress API now lets programmers access lobbying data. It also lets them find congressional press releases that mention bills.

Amid Affordable Housing Dispute, Conservatives Seek a Home in Chicago

Groups tied to Illinois Policy Institute and talk show host Dan Proft back GOP candidates on city’s Northwest Side.

The U.S. Considered Declaring Russia a State Sponsor of Terror, Then Dropped It

After an attack on a former spy, the State Department pondered placing that label on Putin’s government. Instead, the Trump administration continued a longtime U.S. policy of treating Russia as a partner in fighting terrorism even as evidence of its misbehavior mounts.

Covering the Midterms With Electionland 2018

We’re relaunching the Electionland project, which will cover voting in the upcoming congressional elections.

Before the Blankenship-McConnell Feud, the Senator Aided the Mining Executive

Mitch McConnell helped Don Blankenship’s company avoid dire regulatory consequences for a disastrous spill in 2000.

For Some Democrats, Facebook Likes Are a Path to Hard-to-Find Supporters

The Arizona special election campaign of Hiral Tipirneni targeted ads at people across the country who “liked” the pages of liberal icons.

What Is Congress Talking About?

We’re using data to track the things Congress talks a disproportionate amount about every week.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Builds Power From the Ground Up — And Sometimes From the Basement

A polling place in a Chicago home offers a view of the operation run by the state’s most powerful politician.

A Partisan Combatant, a Remorseful Blogger: The Senate Staffer Behind the Attack on the Trump-Russia Investigation

Jason Foster, chief investigative counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee, once blogged under the handle “Extremist,” expressing worry about a Muslim takeover and whether Joe McCarthy got a bum rap. Today, as he helps lead an explosive investigation, he says the blogging was satire and asks for forgiveness.

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ Defeat Opens the Door to Reform

Democratic primary winner Fritz Kaegi pledged change, but delivering it won’t be easy.

A Political Boss Goes Down

Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios, one of the last leaders of the old Democratic machine, loses the Democratic primary to a wealthy political newcomer.

‘Trump, Inc.’ Podcast: Where’d Trump’s Record Inauguration Spending Go? ‘It’s Inexplicable’

Another thing we found on this week’s “Trump, Inc.”: Two members of President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee have been convicted of financial crimes, and a third — the committee’s treasurer — was an unindicted co-conspirator in an accounting fraud.

The Trump Administration’s Campaign to Weaken Civil Service Ramps Up at the VA

Firings surged at the Veterans Affairs Department last year in the wake of a new law. Now the president wants to replicate that legislation across the federal government.

We’ve Updated Our Campaign Widget to Better Help You Follow the Money

In the pricey Illinois governor’s race, it’s more important than ever.

How We Compiled Trump Town

We assembled an authoritative database of the people appointed to government positions by the Trump administration. Here’s how we did it.

What We Found in Trump’s Drained Swamp: Hundreds of Ex-Lobbyists and D.C. Insiders

For the first time, political appointee and federal financial disclosure information is publicly searchable.

Trump Town

Tracking White House staffers, Cabinet members and political appointees across the government

Win or Lose in GOP Primary for Governor, Jeanne Ives Helps Push Illinois to the Right

Top donors, operatives abandon Rauner and put their money with conservative crusader.

We’ve Updated ‘The Money Game,’ Our Illinois Governor’s Race Fundraising Widget

We now show candidates’ self-funding and have cards to share on social media.

How Political Pessimism Helps Doom Tougher Gun Laws

Saying ‘nothing will change’ has empowered the NRA and ignores its declining punch.

How We Made Our Illinois Governor’s Campaign Finance Widget

It's the first of many experiments to reach our audience with useful, data-driven visual journalism.

Congressman Calls For Investigation Of Conservative Think Tank

Veteran Democrat Lipinski joins critics of the Illinois Policy Institute with a letter to the IRS.

New Widget Helps You Follow the Money in the Illinois Governor’s Race

We’ve created a widget you can use to track fundraising and spending in the Illinois governor’s race, which is on track to break records.

As Conservative Group Grows In Influence, Financial Dealings Enrich Its Leaders

Illinois Policy Institute has called for government reform while channeling money to firms owned by insiders.

NLRB Member Is Under Investigation for a Conflict of Interest

William Emanuel, already criticized for allegedly favoring clients of the corporate law firm he used to work for, now faces a probe by the agency’s inspector general.

As March Primary Nears, Study on Cook County Property Tax System Still Under Wraps

Initial mid-December deadline for review gives way to new release date: late February.

Trump NLRB Appointee Finds a Way Around Conflict of Interest Rules

William Emanuel has recused himself from ruling on disputes involving his former law firm’s clients — but then used unrelated cases as vehicles to help Republican colleagues accomplish the same thing.

Manhattan District Attorney Says He’ll No Longer Accept Contributions From Lawyers With Cases Before Him

Cy Vance had faced criticism after declining to prosecute high-profile defendants such as Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. and Harvey Weinstein, whose lawyers had donated to his campaign.

Rauner Takes Aim at State Lawmakers Who Appeal Property Taxes

But the Illinois governor's effort may have little impact on the system.

Reinventing Represent

We asked readers to help us reconceive and redesign an interactive database that tracks Congress. Here’s how the process worked.

‘Independent’ Watchdog’s Secret Funder: Conservative Small-Government Group

Project Six, led by the former City Council inspector general, got 98 percent of its startup money from the right-leaning Illinois Policy Institute.

Trump’s Dark Deregulation

Passing legislation and rolling back regulatory rules are hard. There are quieter, easier ways to cut down on governmental oversight. Here are five ways the Trump administration is doing so.

Governors and Federal Agencies Are Blocking Nearly 1,300 Accounts on Facebook and Twitter

We filed public-records requests with all 50 governors and 22 federal agencies. Here’s what we found.

Covering the Midterms With Election DataBot

It’s not too early to think about reporting on the midterm elections. Get a head start using our free, near-real-time database.

More Machine Learning About Congress’ Priorities

We keep training machine learning models on Congress. Find out what this one learned about lawmakers’ top issues.

Despite Mayor’s Pledge, Hundreds of Chicago Cops Still in Desk Jobs

Emanuel still hasn’t delivered on promise to put more civilians in desk jobs and get additional officers on the street.

Book Review: The Ordeal of Appalachia

A new account challenges our notion of how the people of Appalachia “acquired civilization and then lost it.”

The Voter Fraud Commission Wants Your Data — But Experts Say They Can’t Keep It Safe

Newly revealed records show sloppy practices that could put millions of people’s information at risk.

The Trump Administration Plans to End a Refugee Program for Children

Minors from violence-plagued El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala will no longer be permitted to reunite with their parents in the United States.

Houston Officials Hope Harvey Convinces Congress to Fund Coastal Barrier

Mayor Sylvester Turner on Tuesday gave his strongest endorsement to date for constructing a physical coastal barrier to protect the region from deadly storm surge.

Is Anybody Home at HUD?

A long-harbored conservative dream — the “dismantling of the administrative state” — is taking place under Secretary Ben Carson.

A Stealth History Lesson in Baltimore

The city’s removal of Confederate statues in the dead of night was Baltimore’s latest attempt to make peace with the ghosts of the Civil War.

Keep an Eye On Your State’s Congressional Delegation

We’ve added new features to our Represent project, including full-text bill search, and a way to keep track of your state’s entire congressional delegation on one page. We’ve also got news about the Congress API.

New York Landlords Exploit Loophole to Hike Rents Despite Freeze

Thanks to a 2003 state law, owners of rent-stabilized apartments can arbitrarily boost rents to a legal maximum that they set themselves. The tactic fosters gentrification, eviction and homelessness.

How Washington Blew Its Best Chance to Fix Immigration

Three years ago, the Republican-led House was close to reaching a compromise on immigration. This is the inside story of what went wrong.

The Great Republican Crack-up

Dayton was once a bastion of the GOP establishment. The story of how the city changed helps explain the rise of Donald Trump.

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