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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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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7:04pm

Wed August 27, 2014
It's All Politics

Former Iowa Lawmaker Admits To Getting Payoff Before 2012 Caucuses

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 9:24 pm

Kent Sorenson says he was paid for his endorsement of Ron Paul in the 2012 presidential campaign — and that the exchange was hidden from the public.
Charles Dharapak AP

A former Iowa state senator says he concealed money he took for shifting loyalty from Rep. Michele Bachmann to then-Rep. Ron Paul during the 2012 presidential campaign.

There's always a certain amount of weirdness in the Iowa presidential caucuses, and in the 2012 cycle the peak weirdness might have come just before New Year's. Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson, the Iowa chairman for Bachmann's campaign, jumped to the Paul campaign six days before the voting — immediately setting off rumors that he had taken a payoff for switching sides.

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12:57pm

Wed August 13, 2014
It's All Politics

More Details Surface On Missing IRS Hard Drive

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 2:41 pm

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., holds up a hard drive as he questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen during a July 23 hearing.
Uncredited AP

Finally, we now have a detailed IRS account of its attempts to resurrect the long-gone hard drive in Lois Lerner's computer.

But it's not definitive.

Lerner headed the tax-exempt organizations division in 2011, when it was dealing with hundreds of applications from conservative groups. They wanted status as 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations, so they could raise unlimited sums without identifying the donors and engage in extensive political activity.

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4:15pm

Thu July 31, 2014
Politics

Facing A Mass-Mailing Deadline, Lawmakers Get Frank Fast

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 8:07 pm

Members of Congress are racing to take advantage of "franking" privileges, which allow them to replace postage with their signature. They are not allowed to use franking within 90 days of an election.
iStockphoto

Members of Congress face a deadline next Thursday — 90 days before the election — to put constituent newsletters in the mail. Carefully timing the mailings is just one fillip in the fine art of congressional communications, especially those that might suggest campaign messages.

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7:05pm

Wed July 23, 2014
It's All Politics

Democrats Make New Bid To Require Donor Transparency

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at the Faith and Freedom Coalition reception in Washington in June. On Wednesday, he appeared at a Senate rules committee hearing to oppose a campaign finance bill proposed by Democrats.
Yuri Gripas Reuters/Landov

Senate Democrats have rolled out this year's model of the DISCLOSE Act. Or, if you want to be more formal: the Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act.

It's the third version of DISCLOSE since 2010. Broadly speaking, it would force donor disclosure on the big-money, 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations that are flourishing in post-Citizens United politics. Unlike almost all other players in an election campaign, 501(c)(4)s are not covered by the disclosure laws. Their donors are never publicly named.

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4:45am

Wed July 23, 2014
Politics

Long GOP Primary Season Gives Democrats Time To Fill Campaign Coffers

Originally published on Wed July 23, 2014 11:31 am

Senate candidate Michelle Nunn of Georgia is one of several Democratic women making strong election bids.
Akili-Casundria Ramsess AP

Georgia Republicans picked their Senate nominee Tuesday night. Former corporate CEO David Perdue will face Democrat Michelle Nunn in the November general election.

Nunn, the daughter of a popular former senator, is among several Democratic female candidates who are showing strength as the party tries to preserve its Senate majority. She's also considered a real contender to turn the Georgia seat Democratic.

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4:21pm

Tue July 15, 2014
Politics

A Year Into IRS Probe, Partisan Motives Still Prove Elusive

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:23 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now a fact check in the ongoing story about IRS treatment of conservative groups. For more than a year, two house committees have been investigating the IRS for stalling conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. House Republicans have alleged the Obama administration orchestrated the delays. But as NPR's Peter Overby reports, the evidence collected over the past year fails to support that allegation.

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7:25pm

Wed July 9, 2014
It's All Politics

Interpreting The IRS Emails, Washington-Style

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., grills Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen as he testifies June 23 before the House Oversight Committee.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Here's the biggest recurring theme in the IRS controversy — the one about alleged targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

Throughout the yearlong investigation, congressional Republicans and Democrats have not only highlighted their own evidence but also taken the same evidence and drawn diametrically opposed conclusions.

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5:29am

Thu June 26, 2014
Politics

Interest Groups Come Down On Opposite Sides Of Export-Import Bank

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 2:19 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Let's follow up on a story we heard about yesterday with the Republican Party's primary season winding down, the party establishment and Tea Party conservatives are shifting the focus of their fight. This time it's over a federal agency that helps to finance American companies in foreign trade. The legal authority for the Export-Import Bank expires in September. Small government conservatives are going all out to abolish it. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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