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Training: Learn how to investigate super PACs and other campaign money

Trying to keep up with the latest developments in campaign financing? Join the Sunlight Foundation in Washington, D.C., for a two-day training session for journalists. The training will take place April 21-22, 2012.

Titled McCormick Specialized Reporting Institute: Investigating Super PACs — Following the Money after Citizens United, the training will focus on four key areas:

  • Tracking the activities of political players and groups, including super PACs;
  • Identifying key personnel and their connections to other political groups;
  • Determining which organizations disclose donors and learn how to identify those donors and their interests/connections;
  • Learning tools and techniques for following how these groups can influence policy beyond the election.

You need this training because a series of court decisions and Federal Election Commission (FEC) rulings have completely upended the way campaigns are being financed this cycle. Federal candidates and party officials can now raise money for independent expenditure-only committees, better known as super PACs, (e.g. American Crossroads), that can raise unlimited funds from individuals and corporations.

Super PACs can also maintain funds for donating directly to candidates. The barriers between big money, independent committees and candidates are thinner than ever, and reporters need to know all the new rules and all the new types of political committees and activities that are now permissible under campaign finance law to effectively follow and report on their influence.

The training agenda includes:

  • An overview of changes to federal campaign finance law and the disclosure requirements of different entities;
  • What to look for in the organizational filing of these groups;
  • How to access data on their donors, spending and other activities;
  • How to track the activities of groups that do not disclose donors.

The Sunlight Foundation is pleased to host this Specialized Reporting Institute training with the generous support of the Robert R. McCormick Foundation and the assistance of the Poynter Institute. The Sunlight Foundation is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.

There are only 30 seats available — 15 of which are eligible for a scholarship to pay for the attendee's expenses — so apply now before they are gone.

Apply online

The deadline to apply is Sunday, March 11, 2012 at 11:59pm ET. Selections will be announced March 20.