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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3:25am

Mon November 12, 2012
It's All Politics

With Millions Spent, GOP 'Investors' Saw Little Return Election Night

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 5:39 am

A supporter of President Barack Obama raises his arms as it is announced that Obama was re-elected during an election night watch party in Chicago.
Jerome Delay AP

A "return on investment" is a concept better known to Wall Street than to Washington. But after President Obama and the Democrats won most of the close elections last week there are questions about the seven- and eight-figure "investments" made by dozens of conservative donors.

During the election season, it was pretty common to hear about donors making "investments" in superPACs and other outside groups, rather than a "political contribution," perhaps because the phrase has a sort of taint to it.

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5:34pm

Wed November 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Outside Groups Spend Big On Elections, But Don't Have Much To Show For It

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 5:50 pm

Karl Rove, former adviser to President George W. Bush, speaks last year in Corpus Christi, Texas. Rove is the chief fundraiser for the biggest outside spender this election season: the twin groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.
Michael Zamora AP

This presidential election attracted $1.5 billion in outside spending — TV ads, robocalls and other political activity by groups created to take advantage of the new rules of campaign finance law.

On the day after the voting, the track record of the groups, most of them conservative, is open to question.

Tuesday night was a rough one for Karl Rove. The GOP guru is the guiding light and chief fundraiser for the biggest outside spender: the twin groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS.

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1:04am

Wed November 7, 2012
It's All Politics

Post-'Citizens United' Senate Snapshot: Money Doesn't Guarantee Victory

Originally published on Wed November 7, 2012 2:17 am

Former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine is joined by his wife and daughter in celebrating his Senate victory over Republican George Allen.
Mike Theiler UPI /Landov

The battle to control the Senate was a proving ground for the new Citizens United politics. Outside groups unleashed heavily funded barrages of attack ads meant to help elect candidates while letting them keep their distance from the nastiness.

In Ohio and Virginia, the tactic failed in rather dramatic ways, as Republicans backed by secretly financed ads failed to beat seemingly vulnerable Democrats.

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3:27am

Mon November 5, 2012
It's All Politics

Any Way You Describe It, 2012 Campaign Spending Is Historic

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:07 am

Voters participate in early voting Friday in Silver Spring, Md.
Alex Wong Getty Images

As relentlessly as the candidates have courted voters, they've also shown their love to donors.

A report by the Center for Responsive Politics places the total cost of the 2012 elections at an estimated $6 billion, which would make it the most expensive election in U.S. history

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5:21pm

Sat November 3, 2012
It's All Politics

With Buses And Billboards, Small-Money Groups Try To Make A Mark

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 7:23 pm

The Campaign to Defeat Barack Obama, a small-donor PAC, has launched a bus tour to reach conservative voters in hotly contested states, while trying to raise money to launch an anti-Obama TV ad.
Yfat Yossifor Courtesy of Mlive.com

5:38pm

Wed October 31, 2012
It's All Politics

Mysterious Anti-Obama Spam Texts Linked To Republican Consulting Group

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 6:53 pm

A screenshot of an anti-Obama text message received Tuesday evening.
NPR

If you're using social media to follow the presidential campaign or even if you're related to someone else who's doing that, there's a good chance your cellphone got spammed Tuesday night with an anti-Obama text message.

The messages went out between 7:30 and 10 p.m. They were anonymous but quickly traced to a Republican consulting firm in Northern Virginia.

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6:13pm

Tue October 16, 2012
Presidential Race

Obama Holds Advertising Advantage Over Romney

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 7:06 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. A low profile wing of Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has just reported raising a remarkable amount of money - $236 million in just the past few months. The report comes from Romney Victory, Incorporated, that's a joint fundraising committee that allows donors to give far more than the usual $5,000. Its limit is over $75,000 per person.

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6:46pm

Mon October 15, 2012
It's All Politics

Study: Secret Donors Significantly Fueling Pro-Romney TV Ads

Costumed demonstrators on Oct. 3 in Denver, before the first presidential debate.
Doug Pensinger Getty Images

Since April, most of the TV ads supporting Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have come from outside groups, not from Romney's own campaign. And those groups raised more than half of their money from secret donors, according to a six-month study of ads.

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4:51am

Mon October 15, 2012
Election 2012

SuperPacs For Romney Coordinate TV Ad Buys

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 1:13 pm

Since April, more than 825,000 presidential campaign ads have been broadcast in the battleground states. Oddly, the dominant Republican voice on TV hasn't been that of nominee Mitt Romney. The big advertisers are four heavily funded SuperPacs and tax-exempt groups.

6:04am

Sun October 7, 2012
Presidential Race

Taxes Are Certain, But What About Romney's Cuts?

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 1:24 pm

Supporters watch Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speak on Friday in Abingdon, Va. Romney started off his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but has backed off that somewhat.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Republican Mitt Romney started his campaign calling for big tax cuts, but now he has changed course. He's warning middle-class families not to raise their hopes too high.

Romney couldn't have been more emphatic than he was last November at a candidates' debate in Michigan.

"What I want to do is help the people who've been hurt the most, and that's the middle class," he said. "And so what I do is focus a substantial tax break on middle-income Americans."

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