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Back to school: Privatizers turn to big screen to push charters, trigger laws

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As school starts up, it seems a good time to take a look at the a well-financed political tussle for control of the blackboards and soon-to-be bustling halls. It's a battle that pits upstart entrepreneurs and big-name philanthropists against the well-oiled political machines of the nation's leading teacher's unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers.

The battle has been fought in Congress and state legislatures. More recently, it has gone Hollywood. 

Conservative bankrollers Rupert Murdoch and Philip Anschutz have teamed up to produce "Won't Back Down," a film that presents the inspiring ...

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The phone booth caucus: House Democratic freshmen

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Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala.Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., the first black woman elected to Congress from Alabama, is the president of this year's small Democratic freshmen class. Those nine freshmen, dubbed the "noble nine" by supporters, elected the Harvard-educated lawyer as the leader of a small, but diverse class that includes four women, four African Americans and one openly gay member and one who identifies as Buddhist.

After winning her first House term with 73% of the vote in Alabama's 7th Congressional District, Sewell established herself as a reliably liberal vote. She supported the president's health care bill as well as ...

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Super PAC Profile: Workers’ Voices the super PAC of the average citizen?

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Just four months after the AFL-CIO announced the formation of its super PAC, Workers' Voice, the group has emerged as a major force, ranking No. 10 among super PACs in terms of money collected as of the end of July, with more than $7 million already spent, and the backing of the House of Labor's treasury.

However, the union super PAC weathered a major disappointment in its first outing: It was formed as part of an unsuccessful effort to unseat Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisc., in a June 2012 recall election.

Since its inception, Workers’ Voice has branded itself the ...

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Sunlight Live to cover Senate hearing on Super PACs and Citizens United

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Join us on Sunlight Live as we cover the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing examining the impact that Super PACs and the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision are having on elections. The hearing, called "Taking Back Our Democracy: Responding to Citizens United and the Rise of Super PACs," will be held by the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights and will be covered live today at 2:30p.m. today.

Chariman Dick Durbin, D-Ill., will lead the subcommittee as two panels of witnesses testify to the state of our democracy and the influence of Super PACs ...

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Survey Says… House Republicans Schedule Bevy of Critical Dodd-Frank Hearings

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House Republicans are on an anti-Dodd-Frank blitz, but with a populist twist, leading up to the financial reform law’s second birthday later this week.

The Republican-controlled Financial Services Committee has launched an "online survey," which asks users a series of questions about how Dodd-Frank affects “you, not Wall Street.” The survey comes as the committee has scheduled a half dozen hearings over a two-week period focusing on such topics as Dodd-Frank's impact on home mortgages, consumer choice, and access to credit and municiple finance.

We'll be covering one of those hearings — titled "Who’s In Your Wallet ...

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House members delete tweets echoing Supreme mistweet

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The general mayhem following mistaken all-too-instant analyses of Thursday's nearly 200-page Supreme Court package of opinions on the health care law included several members of Congress eating their words – or tweets, rather – according to Sunlight Foundation’s Politwoops.

“Individual Mandate ruled unconstitutional. Let Freedom Ring,” posted Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., in an immediate response to news stories that erroneously indicated that the high court had overturned health care law.  Ross deleted the inaccurate tweet, moments later, when it became clear that two networks often watched in congressional offices -- CNN and Fox -- had blown the call. Gannett News Service has ...

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Music giant Universal and EMI owner lavish contributions on Senate anti-trust panel

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(Clarification: This story has been updated to more accurately reflect the timing of Citigroup's donations)

At least half of the members of the Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, which Thursday will hold a hearing  on Universal Music Group’s proposed merger with EMI music, have received contributions from the two music giants or from rival firm, Warner Music. 

In the months leading up to and following last November's announcement of proposed merger -- which must win approval from both the U.S. government and the European Union -- the record companies and their corporate ownwers have made a stream of contributions ...

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