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Watch TransparencyCamp ideas grow!

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TransparencyCamp has come and gone, but the ideas that sprouted at TCamp are just beginning to come to life.

Steve Spiker from OpenOakland shared his insight about the transparency movement in the TCamp wrap up video below, “We’re saying things need to be different in our country and that’s only going to happen if you care enough to persist on it.”

The transparency community understands that progress starts at TCamp but it doesn’t end when you go home.

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Final look at outside spenders’ 2012 return on investment

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The controversy over the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of Tea Party groups has put a spotlight on the non-profit groups that played such a prominent role in the 2012 campaign. The groups have become popular conduits for political funds because, unlike political action committees, they do not have to disclose donors to the Federal Election Commission. While most of the groups whose applications the IRS slow-walked were relatively small givers, many groups that did land non-profit status gave big. Check out this page to see the "social welfare" non-profits who made political expenditures in the 2012 election cycle. Because of the interest, the Sunlight Foundation has decided to update the Return on Investment feature we first published the day after the election. This analysis looks at more than 100,000 lines of itemized expenditures made by outside spending groups (super PACS as well as 501(c) non profits) and calculates the amount of money that went toward the desired result on Election Day. Our update accounts for updated filings and amendments at the Federal Election Commission and our own data cleanup. For more details on each group listed below click on the “see ROI breakdown” button. You can sort by general election spending, candidate, support or oppose, and election result.

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TransparencyCamp 2013: Wrapping Up the Best Year Yet

Every year at about this time -- just days after our hallmark community event, TransaprencyCamp -- we kick up our heels, shake our heads, and think, “That was our best event yet.” But this year, we really mean it. TransparencyCamp 2013 was different from its predecessors. Not only was it our largest TCamp to-date -- with a chart-topping 500 participants from over 25 countries and 33 states* -- but it was also our strongest. More than a reunion of old friends fighting the same fight, this TransparencyCamp was a veritable democratic laboratory, with scientists from different backgrounds, countries and creeds coming together to share their experiments, find collaborators, and bring new ideas back home for testing and tweaking. We’ll have some more reflections and behind the scenes views in the days ahead, but first, we wanted to share with you a closer at the weekend.

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Top ten things to know about TCamp

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Greetings TCamper!

We are excited that you are coming to TransparencyCamp this weekend! Here are all the ten things you need to know to be a savvy camper. If you want to know more, head to our website: TransparencyCamp.org.

If you are not one of the 620 people that purchased tickets this year, we will have a streaming google hangout at: http://snlg.ht/tcamp2013hangout. Streaming begins at 10am and will continue at least to 11 each day.

1.  When is TCamp ?

  • Saturday and Sunday, May 4th - 5th
  • Registration begins at 9AM on Saturday.
  • Conference starts at 10AM -- sharp! -- each day.

2. Where is TransparencyCamp?

         The Marvin Center - 3rd floor

         The George Washington University

         800 21st Street NW

         Washington, DC 20052

  • Closest Metro is Foggy Bottom on the Blue and Orange lines. Check our website for more transportation options.

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In years before Waco explosion, fertilizer trade groups lobbied for lax oversight

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Photo source: istockphoto

The tragic explosion north of Waco, Texas, was preceded by years of lax oversight. As Reported by Bloomberg, OSHA had not inspected Adair Grain’s West Fertilizer Company facility since 1985. Mark Drajem and Jack Kaskey also reported that when other agencies—including the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency—did swing by, they found violations and issued thousands of dollars in fines. With a dubious track record, how did the Texas plant avoid regulation?

Part of the blame rests with Congress and the special interests that target it. Consider ...

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Looking back at mega donor Bob Perry’s political giving

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Mega donor Bob Perry

Houston homebuilder Bob Perry, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 80, poured millions into conservative causes during his lifetime. He was part of an elite cohort of people able to write million-dollar checks, and over the course of his lifetime contributed to candidates, PACs, party committees and super PACs. Overall, he contributed $53 million, according to data in Influence Explorer.

Though he was overshadowed in the 2012 campaign by megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson, there were times during the contest when Perry “lead the pack” of super PAC donors, giving hefty amounts to Restore Our Future ...

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