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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5:13am

Thu December 4, 2014
Politics

Senators Try Again To Make Disclosure Process Electronic

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 6:44 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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12:24pm

Tue December 2, 2014
It's All Politics

Study: Campaign Cash Brings Tax Benefits On Capitol Hill

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 7:55 pm

J. Scott Applewhite AP

A new analysis takes aim at one of political science's evergreen topics: What do donors get in exchange for their campaign contributions?

The answer, according to three researchers at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, is that "investments in on-going access to policymakers are associated with future tax benefits."

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5:24pm

Tue November 18, 2014
It's All Politics

Big Money Is Helping GOP Win In State Legislatures Too

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 6:32 pm

House members and those newly elected to the Legislature gather in the House chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. Nov. 7, 2014. Arkansas' legislature is just one of 31 state legislatures in Republican control.
Danny Johnston AP

Every election cycle, big donors open their checkbooks for the Republican State Leadership Committee and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, two Washington-based party organizations that are gradually remaking state legislative elections.

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3:48am

Mon November 17, 2014
Politics

Top Spenders On Capitol Hill Pay Billions, Receive Trillions

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:24 pm

The amount of money spent on Capitol Hill is way more than small change — but the impact of that money is a little murky. Here, the U.S. Capitol is reflected in a fountain full of coins on Election Day this year.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

How much power should corporations wield in Washington? It's an enduring question — and now the Sunlight Foundation has devised a new way to gauge that power.

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5:51pm

Thu November 6, 2014
The Two-Way

Alaska Station Sets Dubious Record: Most Senate Campaign Ads

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan greets supporters on election night in Anchorage. The as-yet-undecided race between Sullivan and Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich was the hottest in the state.
Ted S. Warren AP

It's a record most Alaskans might wish they could give back: The Center for Public Integrity calculates that KTUU TV in Anchorage ran more U.S. Senate ads this cycle than any other television station in the country — 12,300 in all.

Those Senate spots made up the bulk of the 13,400 political ads since January. KTUU General Manager Andrew MacLeod says 2014 was the the station's busiest year ever. By contrast, off-year 2013 was relatively light.

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4:21pm

Wed November 5, 2014
Politics

Climate Change Activists Come Up Short In Midterm Elections

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 10:23 am

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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4:16pm

Tue November 4, 2014
Politics

The 4 Big Numbers To Know In The Midterm Elections

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 6:32 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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6:19pm

Wed October 29, 2014
It's All Politics

What Can $3.7 Billion Buy? How About 2,969,370 Campaign Ads

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 8:25 pm

Spending on next week's elections is approaching $4 billion, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Center for Responsive Politics

Two new reports find that the House and Senate elections will cost about $3.7 billion — up just slightly from the past two election cycles — with outside groups buying their largest share yet of the television advertising.

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4:39am

Tue October 28, 2014
Politics

Money Mixes Up Missouri Circuit-Court Race

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 1:17 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now another story of big, political money coming to small-town America. In Cole County, Missouri, a circuit court judge is fighting to stay on the bench. Her challenger was underfunded until he got some outside help. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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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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