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Could sequester hit Israel?

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Photo of Secretary of State John KerryWhen John Kerry takes the stage at the University of Virginia today to deliver his first major address as secretary of state, he'll be making a plea  for one of the spending areas likely to draw the least amount of sympathy when the sequester axe hits. In a letter to the Senate, Kerry warned that foreign aid may have to absorb a $2.6 billion hit if a deal to avert the automatic budget cuts isn't reached.

While money U.S. taxpayers sent overseas might be considered a rare appealing target for the budget axe since there is ...

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As sequester nears, Northrop Grumman looks and lobbies for new markets

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B2 aircraft

Image released by the United States Air Force

The looming sequester--across-board-cuts in defense and domestic discretionary spending that Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to in 2011--was the subject in opening remarks at an unusual press briefing offered by officals of Northrop Grumman, a major defense contractor that could see its business shrink along with the Pentagon budget.  

In 2012, Northrop Grumman ranked tenth among U.S. contractors with $4.2 billion in awards mostly from the Pentagon, data in USASpending.gov shows. And according to the Center for Responsive Politics, Northrop Grumman ranked as the tenth largest spender on ...

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TransparencyCamp 2013: Register Today!

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Registration for TransparencyCamp 2013 is now open, and if you purchase your tickets between now and March 1, 2013, you can get in on our early bird special: $20 for regular admission and $15 for students. TransparencyCamp, lovingly referred to as TCamp, is a community event for those working or interested in open government, accountability, and transparency. This year’s Camp is co-hosted by the George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs and will be held the weekend of May 4 - 5, 2013 at the University’s Marvin Center

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Influence profile: Interior nominee Sally Jewell

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Interior Secretary-designate Sally Jewell has donated $57,000 to political groups and candidates since 1996 -- including $2,300 to President Barack Obama, who on Wednesday nominated her to join his Cabinet. 

But the man who will be her boss if the Senate confirms Jewell is not her chief beneficiary: Data downloaded from Sunlight's Influence Explorer shows that Jewell has given more to two home-state Democrats: $5,300 to Gov. Jay Inslee and $4,800 to Sen. Patty Murray.

Jewell, the chief executive of outdoor retailer REI, also gave to politically active trade groups, including the Retail Industry Leaders Assocation ...

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Outside spenders’ return on investment

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--Updated Dec. 18--

Outside groups spent more than $1.3 billion in independent expenditures to influence the outcome of the election, we now get to see just what all that money bought them -- or didn't. Turns out some of the smart money wasn't so smart after all when it came to making political bets. This year, the pro-business GOP Crossroads fundraising combine and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce weren't as good at picking winners as the labor movement, which appears to be one of the surprise winners of Election Day.

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Egyptian military aid still flying high

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planeThe planned delivery of 20 Lockheed Martin F-16 fighter planes to Egypt is the perfect symbol of iron triangles at work--special interests and their lobbyists, federal agencies and the lawmakers who fund them.

But in the years since President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his warning about the inertia of defense contracts in 1961, the lobbying has only grown more sophisticated.

The U.S. government gives Egypt foreign aid, which it uses to buy U.S. military hardware. Lobbyists for the Egyptian government and Lockheed Martin (they both used the same firm) arranged meetings between the buyer and the seller, between representatives of Egypt's military and the Defense Department and key members of Congress who provided Egypt with the U.S. taxpayer dollars--some $213 million--to pay for the planes.

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Tallying the Adelsons’ $92 million

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SheldonThe Adelson’s have given a mind-blowing $92.28 million dollars to outside spending groups this election. The Casino mogul and his physician wife were the impetus behind Newt Gingrich’s primary campaign. After Gingrich left the race, donations to “Winning our Future” became donations to “Restore our Future” the pro-Romney group that the Adelson’s would give the most to, $30 in all.

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Post-election campaign finance disclosures: What we are watching

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Federal Election Commission voyeurs rejoice! Last-minute super PAC donors are about to be revealed.

More than 70 PACs have spent a combined $81.3 million more than they accounted for in donations before the election. Unless these super PACs found some loan sharks, the spending will be accounted for in last-minute donations that will be revealed in coming hours. Political committees must file their post-election reports with the Federal Election Commission by midnight Thursday. Some are filing early and we're posting as we see interesting tidbits.

Other super PACs are members of what we at Sunlight have dubbed the ...

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