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Former Fiesta Bowl chief sentenced in scheme

March 13, 2013
Associated Press

PHOENIX — A former longtime Fiesta Bowl chief executive was sentenced to eight months in federal prison on Thursday after acknowledging that he participated in an illegal campaign contribution scheme.

John Junker was sentenced after pleading guilty two years ago to a conspiracy charge in the scheme in which bowl employees made illegal campaign contributions to politicians and were reimbursed by the nonprofit bowl.

Bowl employees were reimbursed at least $46,000 for such contributions.

Rep. Bobby Rush’s Englewood tech center dream dead, where did $1 million go?

December 13, 2013
Chicago Sun-Times

By SANDY BERGO AND CHUCK NEUBAUER Better Government Association

COMING SUNDAY: Rent, spending questions on campaign fund

2006: Bobby Rush's conflict with SBC/AT&T

In 2000, in the midst of a bruising but ultimately victorious Democratic primary battle against then-state Sen. Barack Obama, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) launched the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corp.

Secret Persuasion: How Big Campaign Donors Stay Anonymous

November 6, 2013
NPR

by PETER OVERBY, VIVECA NOVAK and ROBERT MAGUIRE

Morning Edition

As tax-exempt organizations become a vehicle of choice for big political donors, one powerful appeal is the anonymity. Federal laws allow tax-exempt groups – unlike political committees – to withhold their donor lists from disclosure.

ups, A River Of Political Influence

November 5, 2013
NPR

by PETER OVERBY, VIVECA NOVAK and ROBERT MAGUIRE

Morning Edition

Part one of the two-part "Secret Persuasion" investigation, reported with the Center for Responsive Politics.

Bruce Pregler walks down the slope from his cabin, eases into the Au Sable River and casts his line; fishing takes his thoughts away from his downstate law practice.

California fines groups $16 million for funneling money to campaigns

October 25, 2013
LA Times

The record penalties cap a yearlong investigation into secretive political groups that bankrolled two of the biggest conservative election causes last year.

By Chris Megerian and Anthony York

SACRAMENTO — California officials are imposing a record $16 million in penalties on secretive political groups that funneled money into initiative campaigns in 2012, ending a yearlong investigation that showed gaps in state disclosure laws.

Conservative donors eye independent groups with new skepticism

June 22, 2013
Washington Post

By Matea Gold,

Charlie Spies knows how to raise money. The Republican lawyer helped rake in $153 million for Restore Our Future, the pro-Mitt Romney super PAC.

But he’s had a harder slog with one of his latest projects, Republicans for Immigration Reform, a super PAC that aims to be a dominant force in the fight over revamping the country’s immigration laws. So far, the organization has made just a tiny ad buy in South Carolina and financed a poll with two other advocacy groups.

Groups Targeted by I.R.S. Tested Rules on Politics

May 26, 2013
New York Times

By NICHOLAS CONFESSORE and MICHAEL LUO

When CVFC, a conservative veterans’ group in California, applied for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, its biggest expenditure that year was several thousand dollars in radio ads backing a Republican candidate for Congress.

The Wetumpka Tea Party, from Alabama, sponsored training for a get-out-the-vote initiative dedicated to the “defeat of President Barack Obama” while the I.R.S. was weighing its application.

IRS foul-up shows how bad laws breed good scandals

May 23, 2013
Bloomberg News- Via Chicago Tribune

By Clive Crook

Much to my surprise, I find myself sympathizing with the Internal Revenue Service. Tenderness toward that agency isn't my default position. I'm a British expat living in the United States, with retirement savings locked up in Britain and other cross-border entanglements — these small complications have sometimes caused my dealings with tax professionals to displace landscape photography as my main and most expensive pastime. Say IRS to me and watch my teeth grind.