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Unraveling Perry’s air travel using FEC disclosures

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Earlier this month the New York Times revealed that Texas Governor and Republican presidential nominee-hopeful Rick Perry often uses the private planes of businesspeople — some long-time donors — to travel the country for free for various political events and even lobbying.

The use of the plane is legal under Texas ethics guidelines but it obviously raised some questions. A Perry spokesman said the governor was trying to save tax dollars. After the stories, Perry disclosed to the Federal Elections Commission some new travel-related campaign expenses — eight of them totaling more than $227,000, all travel costs.

Under FEC guidelines, candidates have ...

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Sunlight Live: GOP candidates debate foreign policy, national security

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The Republican presidential candidates will again be behind podiums on Saturday for a debate in the key early-primary state of South Carolina, just three days after a showdown in Michigan. As usual, the Sunlight Live team will be behind computer screens checking the candidates' facts and inserting data on money and influence in politics into the conversation at sunlightlive.com.

Whereas Wednesday's debate dealt with the stalled economy, Saturday's meeting will focus on national security and foreign policy, an area some have said is a weak spot for most candidates.

Wednesday's debate was relatively calm with the ...

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Sunlight Live: Debating the economy, take two

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The eight leading Republican presidential candidates are headed to Rochester, Mich., on Wednesday for the latest in a long season of GOP debates. This one will be the first since decades-old allegations of sexual harassment shook Herman Cain's campaign. Naturally, the Sunlight Live team is ready to follow the action.

Despite the allegations, the Georgia businessman continues to lead the polls along with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, though no polls have been conducted since one of the alleged sexual harassment victims held a press conference Monday afternoon. At that event, she said Cain touched her inappropriately as she ...

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Wednesday: Sunlight Live to check in on super committee

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When the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or super committee, emerges from the shadows on Wednesday morning to hold its first public hearing in a month, the Sunlight Live team will be there to shine a light on who’s influencing the panel.

As the 12 members inch closer to proposing at least $1.2 trillion in federal cuts or new revenue sources before the end of November, little has come out about their ideas even as reports have surfaced about daily or twice-daily “unofficial” meetings.

More than 200 groups or people — with health care lobbyists leading the way ...

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Sunlight Live to cover antitrust panel probe into Google

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A Senate subcommittee on Wednesday will become the latest group to question search engine powerhouse Google amidst rising concerns that the company is putting its own profits ahead of the best search results, and Sunlight Live will be there to follow the action starting 2 p.m E.T.

Leaders of the committee, which monitors antitrust, competition policy and consumer rights issues, urged former Google CEO and current chairman Eric Schmidt to testify and he agreed to take the stand. Members will examine whether Google misleads users and fends off competition by placing its own businesses higher in search results ...

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How do lobbyists snag front-row seats at hearings?

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As the 12 members of the “super committee” scour the nation’s budget searching for at least $1.2 trillion in federal cuts, Washington lobbyists are watching their every move, hoping to protect the interests of their clients.

Some attend fundraisers, ponying up as much as $1,000, $2,000 or $5,000 for face time with a member. Some seek private meetings with members or their staff in Capitol Hill offices. And for some, attending the hearings — being seen while watching the proceedings — is the way to go.

But how do lobbyists get in — much less into front-row seats ...

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Who’s watching the Super Committee?

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A big audience turned out yesterday for the second meeting of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, or the "super committee," as its 12 members asked questions of the first witness, CBO director Doug Elmendorf. The meeting was open to the public and there was live video on the committee's new website. 

While all the other cameras were focused on the committee members and witness, we turned ours 180 degrees to check out the crowd — and we want your help to identify the people keeping a close eye on this committee. Check out the photos below and the ...

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Sunlight Live to cover Rick Perry’s debate debut in California

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With a new face officially in the mix, eight Republican candidates will take the stage again next week to spar about the economy, jobs, budget deficit and more at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Library in Simi Valley, Calif.

It will mark the first debate for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who joined the race in August just as former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty threw in the towel. Several of the latest polls now show Perry on the top of the pack, outshining Mitt Romney, who has led the group for several months.

Sunlight Live will cover the debate starting at ...

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Super Committee Senate GOP picks: Kyl, Portman, Toomey

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Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's, R-Ky., picked Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio to the special joint committee, or "super committee," today that will be charged with finding $1.2 trillion in budget cuts and or revenue raisers.

Jon Kyl, chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and member of the Senate Finance Committee, has deep ties to the financial industry. Kyl made headlines last spring when he announced he wouldn't run for reelection, and this final task of slashing the government's budget deficit by at least $1 trillion ...

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Boehner selects Hensarling, Camp and Upton for the Super Committee

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House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, just announced his picks to the special joint committee tasked to find at least $1.2 trillion to trim from the federal budget. They are: Reps. Jeb Hensarling from Texas and Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both from Michigan.

Jeb Hensarling, the hardline conservative, known around the Hill as the budget nanny, is a member of the House Republican leadership team, serving as chairman of the House Republican Conference. He's vice chair of the House Financial Services Committee, where he's vocal about trimming excessive spending and creating a balanced budget, and served on ...

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