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Coinciding with state labor woes, surge in federal lobbyist registrations

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As the labor battle in Wisconsin and several other mid-western states heated up in January, there was an increase in lobbying registrations related to labor issues at the federal level. Twenty-three new lobbying contracts sprang up during the month to address labor, antitrust and workplace issues and another eleven more registrations occurred in February with a few others coming in March, according to data aggregated by the lobbying tracker

Thus far, Ameriprise Financial and eight other organizations have created new contracts in March. American Continental Group signed three new lobbying contracts in February with agricultural giant Monsanto CoAdvanced Micro ...

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Libya and Algeria rocked by recent protests, have history of US lobbying

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As the dissent against dictatorial rulers spreads in the Middle East, two countries – Libya and Algeria – experiencing unrest have spent millions lobbying the U.S. government in the past few years on various issues including improving trade relations with the United States and cleaning up tarnished images of their country.

The government of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, who has been in control after he took over in 1969, hired DC lobby shops Blank Rome, The Livingston Group and White and Case for over $2 million to lobby on their behalf in 2008 and 2009, Foreign Agent Registrant Act (FARA) records ...

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Conflict minerals comment period delayed under corporate and congressional pressure

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After a powerful committee chairman and several corporate interests wrote to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requesting an extension of the comment period for the agency’s proposed regulations requiring that companies disclose when they use “conflict minerals,” the agency granted the request.

The new regulations are mandated under a little-noticed provision in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act calling for companies using conflict minerals to disclose whether they were mined by rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or neighboring countries, where metals such as gold are mined under inhumane conditions and fund war ...

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DCCC accuses McCain of flouting election laws he helped create

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Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is the only member of Congress that is using his campaign committee to make independent expenditures for other federal candidates which the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) claims is a violation of the McCain-Feingold Act because it exceeds the value of non-cash contributions.

The DCCC argues that either the ad was created in coordination with the candidates or, it was an independent expenditure. The complaint casts doubts that the ads were independent expenditures saying, “It is utterly implausible that the state's most senior Republican, who appeared at a Tea Party rally for these two candidates ...

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Republican leaning groups spend heavily on Nevada Senate race

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The Nevada Senate toss-up between Majority Leader Harry Reid and Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle is one of the races which has seen close to $10 milion spent by outside groups to influence voters. The stakes are high and the ads are scathing. So far, the spending is skewed in favor of Angle where Republican-leaning groups have spent over $7.8 million, according to data reported to the Federal Election Commission.

The groups that are weighing in on the Nevada battle are big spending conservative-leaning groups including American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS that are part of this "hydra of independent ...

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Crossroads connections visualized

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Crossroads Media has a slew of conservative leaning political organizations as their clients spending millions in the run up to mid-term elections on ad buys. The company has processed more than $10.6 million worth of ad placements this election cycle (not all that money ends up with Crossroads Media--the bulk goes to the television, radio, cable and other outlets that run the advertisements it places).

All but one of their clients – the Susan B. Anthony List -- are connected to two high profile Republican operatives, Karl Rove and Mary Cheney. Rove helps to raise money for American CrossroadsCrossroads GPS ...

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Sunlight tools helps connect the dots between independent expenditures and ads

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Just over a month away from the midterm elections political ads are mustering strength and each advertisement is only one small piece of a larger network of money, power and influence. The Sunlight Foundation has two new tools to help track this political influence: Follow the Unlimited Money, a user friendly way to track advertising and other kinds of electioneering, and Sunlight Campaign Ad Monitor that tracks the end result of some of the political spending powered by citizens reporting.

Using both these tools together, we've picked a few ads reported by citizens and looked up more details ...

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Abortion issues dominate independent expenditures in California Senate race

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In the Senate race between Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer and Carly Fiorina of California, 87 percent of the independent expenditures relates to abortion issues. Among these two candidates, pro-life groups so far have spent $186,000, while pro-choice spending amounts to $41,000, according to a review of our independent expenditures database.

The pro-life group, the Susan B. Anthony List, has spent the most money on this issue in that race so far. They’ve invested $166,100 in buying web ads and paying for phone calls in support of Fiorina. They’ve also campaigned against Boxer with Google advertisements ...

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Maxine Waters exploits FEC rules to raise big bucks from California politicians

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Longtime Democratic lawmaker Maxine Waters has perfected an unusual tactic for fundraising over the years – getting candidates, including some of California’s most prominent political figures, running for state and local offices, to pay as much as $45,000 for her endorsement on election mailers. In this election cycle alone, Waters has raised 59 percent of her campaign’s treasury through these “slate mailers.”

The Los Angeles-area representative, who faces ethics charges in the House for intervening on behalf of a bank in which her husband had invested heavily, has found a way to take large sums of money from ...

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