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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6:47pm

Tue May 19, 2015
Politics

Foundations To SEC: Force Corporations To Disclose Political Giving

Originally published on Wed May 20, 2015 8:51 am

Secret money in politics, especially the corporate variety, has been controversial ever since the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case. Now, about 70 charitable foundations are asking the Securities and Exchange Commission to end that secrecy.

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8:10pm

Fri May 15, 2015
It's All Politics

Inside The Obama And Biden Financial Disclosures

President Barack Obama's 2014 Financial Disclosure Report
whitehouse.gov

You just had a good look at your financial situation last month, when you did your tax return. Now you can check out the government's official financial reports on President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

Federal elected officials, candidates and high-level bureaucrats have to file annual financial disclosure statements. The Obamas and Bidens submitted their 2014 reports this week.

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12:46pm

Fri May 15, 2015
It's All Politics

'Candidates' Driving Cash-Filled Trucks Through Campaign-Finance Loopholes

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 5:47 pm

Candidates, and "un-candidates," for the presidency are slicing and dicing campaign-finance law, testing the boundaries of what's legal.
TaxCredits.net via Flickr

If Congress is all about sausage-making, Washington's political-money industry has its own specialty: slicing the particular sausage that is campaign finance law, thinner and thinner.

The meat of the law is in its definitions. What is a "contribution"? An "expenditure"? What does "coordinate" really mean? "Public communication"? How about "candidate"?

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5:04am

Fri May 8, 2015
It's All Politics

17 Months Before Election Day, One Campaign Aims For $100 Million

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 6:07 pm

"Exploratory" Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks April 17 at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H. His super PAC — Right to Rise — is aiming to raise $100 million dollars by June 1.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

The price tag for the most expensive penthouses in Manhattan is just edging past $100 million. That's also the size of contributions given by conservative businessman David Koch and Hollywood mogul David Geffen to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where each philanthropist got naming rights for a building.

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5:39am

Mon May 4, 2015
Politics

Beyond Quid Pro Quo: What Counts As Political Corruption?

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 4:38 pm

Can candidates courting billionaires count as corruption, even if there are no explicit strings attached? Some activists see the campaign contributions of the super-rich as a problem, regardless of whether "quid pro quo" deals are made. Here, activists protest the political influence of the wealthy Koch Brothers near David Koch's Manhattan apartment on June 5, 2014.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

The presidential hopefuls haven't spent much time so far with voters. Instead, they've committed many days to courting the millionaires and billionaires who can fuel a White House bid. And at the same time, activists on the left and right are seeking to redefine political corruption, which they believe this is.

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6:58pm

Wed April 29, 2015
It's All Politics

Court: Corporations May Be People, But 'Judges Are Not Politicians'

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 9:11 pm

David Barrows, of Washington, D.C., waves a flag with corporate logos and fake money during a rally against money in politics outside the Supreme Court in 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

If there's one thing that today's Supreme Court doesn't like, it's governmental overreach in regulating political money.

But if there's something the court likes even less, it's the increasing prominence of money in electing America's judges. That's how five justices came to uphold a rule in Florida that prevents judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign cash.

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6:39pm

Mon April 27, 2015
It's All Politics

Fact Check: Is The Clinton Foundation 'The Most Transparent'?

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 10:29 pm

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks at the Clinton foundation's Clinton Global Initiative conference with her husband, Bill, and daughter, Chelsea, looking on.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

During the early phase of her presidential run, Hillary Clinton has been dogged by scrutiny of her family's foundation, the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. The Clintons have pushed back, calling the foundation among the most transparent foundations in the world.

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6:15pm

Fri April 17, 2015
Politics

Hillary Clinton Supports Amendment To Get Hidden Money Out Of Politics

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 12:27 am

"We need to fix our dysfunctional political system and get unaccounted money out of it, once and for all, even if that takes a constitutional amendment," Hillary Clinton said at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa Tuesday.
Michael B. Thomas AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton made a surprising move this week. It wasn't running for president — she'd already set the stage for that — but embracing the idea of a constitutional amendment to restrict or eliminate big money in politics.

The notion of amending the Constitution this way has been discussed, literally for decades. But Clinton is joining a new, if small, chorus of prominent politicians who are talking it up.

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10:03am

Wed April 15, 2015
It's All Politics

You Didn't Check The 'Presidential Election Campaign' Box On Your Taxes, Did You?

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:46 pm

iStock

Here's a question for you last-minute tax filers. See that little checkoff box at the top of the 1040 tax form, the one labeled "Presidential Election Campaign"? You didn't check it, did you?

If not, then you're just like pretty much everybody else.

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5:26pm

Tue April 14, 2015
Politics

Presidential Candidates Move Away From Public Financing

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:45 pm

You can still check the box on your 1040 federal income tax return and earmark $3 for presidential public financing. This Watergate-era reform was supposed to push big money out of presidential politics, but so far this cycle, not many people have checked it.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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