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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Economy
4:15 pm
Tue June 30, 2015

Export-Import Bank Set To Expire At Midnight After Congress Fails To Act

Originally published on Tue June 30, 2015 9:09 pm

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It's All Politics
2:00 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

The Problem With Donald Trump's One-Page Summary On His Wealth

Donald Trump displays a copy of a summary of his net worth during his presidential announcement Tuesday.
Richard Drew AP

Originally published on Fri June 19, 2015 5:56 pm

Just how much is Donald Trump worth?

"I'm really rich," Trump declared during his presidential announcement Tuesday in New York at Trump Tower, one of the many buildings around the world donning his name.

But just how rich has always been a question. It was one before the real-estate mogul declared for president and, well, it remains a big question afterward, too, despite Trump holding up a one-page form declaring he is worth roughly $9 billion.

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It's All Politics
12:37 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

Crossing The Line: Political Operative Gets 2 Years In Prison

Republican political operative Tyler Harber admitted in federal court to illegally coordinating between a campaign and superPAC. He was sentenced to two years in prison and two years' probation.
Neil Conway flickr Creative Common

Originally published on Fri June 12, 2015 11:05 pm

The first political operative to ever be found guilty of illegally coordinating between a superPAC and campaign was sentenced Friday to two years in prison and two additional years of probation.

"I did it, it was wrong when I did it, and I knew it was wrong when I did it," Tyler Harber admitted in federal court Friday.

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Politics
5:35 pm
Thu June 11, 2015

Political Consultant To Be Sentenced For Violating Campaign Finance Law

Originally published on Thu June 11, 2015 6:52 pm

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It's All Politics
5:06 am
Mon June 8, 2015

Billionaire Or Bust: Who Are Rich Backers Lining Up With?

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush poses with supporters for photos during a fundraiser in May.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Mon June 15, 2015 5:11 pm

Jeb Bush was pleading for money. Late last month a fundraising email, sent in his name, asked donors for "$100, $50, $25, or anything you can spare right now." Bush said his political action committee still needed $5,674 to meet a monthly goal.

The same day his organization hit "send" on that email, Bush was talking about the big-donor fundraising for his superPAC — $100 million so far, some of it solicited by Bush himself.

"We're going to completely adhere to the law for sure," the former Florida governor said on CBS's Face the Nation.

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It's All Politics
6:03 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Americans Think Money In Politics Is A Problem, But Just How Big?

Significant majorities of people say money in politics is a problem, but it doesn't register among their top concerns.
pictures of money Flickr Creative Commons

Originally published on Wed June 3, 2015 11:34 am

A New York Times-CBS News poll offers compelling new numbers measuring Americans' attitudes toward the rising tide of political money.

Just one question: Which numbers should you believe?

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It's All Politics
8:10 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Fact Check: 3 Questions Answered About Bill Clinton's LLC

Bill Clinton and his wife, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, are facing renewed questions about their finances.
Eugene Hoshiko AP

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 2:44 pm

Another day, another inquiry into the finances of Hillary and Bill Clinton.

This one starts with an Associated Press report that a limited liability company — WJC LLC — has served as a platform for the former president's career as a consultant. Revenues flow through it to the Clintons. It has never appeared in Hillary Clinton's official financial disclosures.

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U.S.
5:35 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Gyrocopter Pilot Calls Capitol Flight An Act Of Civil Disobedience

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 7:07 pm

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It's All Politics
2:39 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Gyrocopter Pilot On His 'Incredible' Flight Onto Capitol Lawn

Doug Hughes said he sees his future as working for "the cause of getting a Congress — not more liberal, not more conservative — but a Congress that is working for the people."
Peter Overby NPR

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 8:39 am

Florida postman Doug Hughes made headlines last month for landing his gyrocopter on the lawn in front of the Capitol building.

In an interview with NPR, Hughes said he "made every effort to send word ahead" about the flight, but also knew he would be taken into custody. He made the flight anyway, he said, to "get a message to the American people — not that there's a problem with Congress but that there are solutions to the problem."

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It's All Politics
8:47 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

Postman Who Gyrocoptered Onto Capitol Lawn Faces Two Felonies

A gyrocopter rests April 15 on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol in Washington. Doug Hughes, a 61-year-old postal worker from Ruskin, Fla., landed the lightweight helicopter on the Capitol lawn to promote campaign finance reform. He's scheduled to enter pleas to multiple charges Thursday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 12:39 pm

Doug Hughes, the Florida postman who gyrocoptered through Washington's anti-terrorism warning system to land on the Capitol lawn, now faces two felonies, four misdemeanors and up to 9 1/2 years in prison for his efforts.

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Politics
5:54 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

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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It's All Politics
8:10 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

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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It's All Politics
12:46 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

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

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

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

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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It's All Politics
4:37 am
Fri May 8, 2015

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

"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

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

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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Politics
5:04 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Beyond Quid Pro Quo: What Counts As Political Corruption?

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

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

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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It's All Politics
6:58 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

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

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

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

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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It's All Politics
7:08 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

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

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

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

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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Politics
6:32 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Hillary Clinton Supports Amendment To Get Hidden Money Out Of Politics

"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

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

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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It's All Politics
10:03 am
Wed April 15, 2015

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

iStock

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

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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Politics
6:21 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

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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