Peter Overby

As NPR's correspondent covering campaign finance and lobbying, Peter Overby totes around a business card that reads Power, Money & Influence Correspondent. Some of his lobbyist sources call it the best job title in Washington.

Overby was awarded an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia silver baton for his coverage of the 2000 campaign and the 2001 Senate vote to tighten the rules on campaign finance. The citation said his reporting "set the bar" for the beat.

In 2008, he teamed up with the Center for Investigative Reporting on the Secret Money Project, an extended multimedia investigation of outside-money groups in federal elections.

Joining with NPR congressional correspondent Andrea Seabrook in 2009, Overby helped to produce Dollar Politics, a multimedia examination of the ties between lawmakers and lobbyists, as Congress considered the health-care overhaul bill. The series went on to win the annual award for excellence in Washington-based reporting given by the Radio and Television Correspondents Association.

Because life is about more than politics, even in Washington, Overby has veered off his beat long enough to do a few other stories, including an appreciation of R&B star Jackie Wilson and a look back at an 1887 shooting in the Capitol, when an angry journalist fatally wounded a congressman-turned-lobbyist.

Before coming to NPR in 1994, Overby was senior editor at Common Cause Magazine, where he shared a 1992 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for magazine writing. His work has appeared in publications ranging from the Congressional Quarterly Guide to Congress and Los Angeles Times to the Utne Reader and Reader's Digest (including the large-print edition).

Overby is a Washington-area native and lives in Northern Virginia with his family.

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4:47am

Thu October 23, 2014
Politics

Democratic Climate Activist Is Election's Biggest Donor — That We Know Of

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 4:14 pm

Tom Steyer recently said in a video that "climate change is not just an important issue, it's the issue. And we need leaders who will take it seriously."
Isaac Brekken Getty Images

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer has spent an astonishing $58 million this election cycle, more than any other donor in the traditional, fully disclosed part of the political system. He recently gave $15 million to a superPAC.

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4:23am

Mon October 20, 2014
Politics

This Political Ad Was Paid For By — Oh, Never Mind

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 6:42 pm

Among outside groups — that is, not candidates or party committees — more than half of this cycle's political ads are financed by secret donors.
iStockphoto

When you talk about "outside" money in politics, there's a good chance you'll talk about billionaire activists David and Charles Koch.

Especially if you're Harry Reid. The Senate majority leader regularly takes to the Senate floor to slam the Kochs for financing a network of conservative groups. Back in March, he said he was criticizing "two very wealthy brothers who intend to buy their own Congress, a Congress beholden to their money and bound to enact their radical philosophy."

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5:56am

Thu October 2, 2014
Politics

Top Spending PAC Aims To Keep The Senate In Democratic Hands

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 8:16 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

4:27pm

Wed September 24, 2014
Politics

Dems Probably Won't Take The House, So Why Are They Raising So Much?

Originally published on Fri September 26, 2014 11:12 am

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised millions from fired-up small donors.
Catherine Lane iStockphoto

Here's an odd twist in the midterm elections: Even though Republicans are generally expected to keep their majority in the House, it's the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee that is raking in the bucks.

A big reason for the difference lies in online fundraising.

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4:24pm

Thu September 18, 2014
It's All Politics

Billionaire GOP Donor Finally Opens Checkbook For 2014

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 7:20 pm

Republican Party leaders are urging big donors to start writing checks, and the check-writers now include Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson.

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5:20pm

Wed September 17, 2014
Politics

A New Campaign Ad Sport: Billionaire Bashing

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:47 pm

SuperPAC NextGen Climate Action aired a 60-second ad about Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst featuring two rich guys with a briefcase full of cash.
YouTube

Michigan TV viewers faced a barrage of campaign ads early this month. For the Senate race alone, the Wesleyan Media Project tallied more than 7,200 spots, including an unusual one from the League of Conservation Voters.

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6:47pm

Mon September 15, 2014
It's All Politics

Tommy Boggs, Influential Lobbyist, Dies At 73

Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 1:44 pm

Brian K. Diggs AP

Tommy Boggs, a longtime lobbyist who in many ways epitomized the Washington establishment, has died. His sister, Morning Edition commentator Cokie Roberts, said he apparently had a heart attack.

Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., 73, pioneered a new, more professional way of lobbying starting in the 1960s, when he saw how power in Washington was becoming more diffuse. Clout on Capitol Hill spread from the House and Senate leadership to more junior members, especially in reforms after the Watergate scandal. In the executive branch, the number of regulatory agencies increased.

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6:42am

Tue September 9, 2014
Politics

Senate Moves Forward In Bid To Limit Campaign Funds

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 8:11 am

People stand with signs on Capitol Hill as Senate and House Democrats called for an amendment to the Constitution aimed at curbing special interests' financial clout in elections.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to debate a proposed constitutional amendment that would let Congress and the states put caps on political spending. But that's probably the high-water mark for the amendment.

When Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) called the vote tally, it looked like a big win for advocates of the constitutional amendment: 79 ayes, 18 nays. That's a dozen votes more than the 67-vote majority needed to actually move the amendment out of the Senate and over to the House.

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5:18am

Fri September 5, 2014
Law

Jury Finds Virginia's Former First Couple Guilty Of Corruption

Originally published on Fri September 5, 2014 10:58 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

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3:15am

Mon September 1, 2014
It's All Politics

A Political Family, Funding And Running On Both Sides Of The Aisle

Originally published on Tue September 2, 2014 11:02 am

The Ricketts family poses on the Chicago Cubs field in 2010, a year after they bought the team: Laura Ricketts (from left), Joe Ricketts, Marlene Ricketts, Todd Ricketts, Tom Ricketts and Pete Ricketts.
Nam Y. Huh AP

Rich families sustain American politics. Some produce candidates; others supply money. And in rare instances, a family will do both.

Meet Nebraska billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of Ending Spending, an independent political organization that's among the top 10 spenders this election cycle. Three of his four children are politically active, including one who's running for governor.

A Billionaire With Political Punch

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