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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It's All Politics
3:44 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

The Rules Don't Apply To Hillary Clinton ... Or Any Of The Other Un-Candidates

Hillary Clinton speaks to the media after keynoting a Women's Empowerment Event at the United Nations on Tuesday in New York City. Clinton answered questions about recent allegations of an improperly used email account during her tenure as secretary of state.
Yana Paskova Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 7:20 pm

Hillary Clinton is, at least for now, not officially running for president. That's what she has said all along, and now all six members of the Federal Election Commission are on record agreeing with her.

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Politics
4:36 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

So Far The 2016 Campaign Is More Like The 2016 Un-campaign

Then-U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sips tea on Turkish television program "Lets come to be with us" at the US Embassy in Ankara March 7, 2009.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 11, 2015 10:40 pm

There's a touch of Alice In Wonderland in the 2016 presidential campaign. What's weird isn't that it's started so early, and not that the hopefuls are raising so much money. It's that almost all of those running insist they're not really candidates.

They're acting like candidates – or almost – while struggling to avoid anything that might trigger the description in campaign finance law of a candidate "testing the waters." The law calls for prospective candidates to set up exploratory committees, which have strict contribution limits.

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It's All Politics
6:53 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Clinton Foundation Funding Woes Touch Hillary, Too

The Clinton Foundation has taken contributions, of $1 million to $10 million, from the governments of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. The Saudi Arabian government has given as much as $25 million.
Julie Jacobson AP

Originally published on Thu March 12, 2015 1:21 pm

With assets approaching $226 million, the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation plays a prominent role in international development. It has battled HIV/AIDS, provided relief after tsunamis and earthquakes and helped farmers and entrepreneurs in developing countries.

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It's All Politics
2:47 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

2014 Midterm Election Was The Most Expensive One Yet

Supporters cheer in Colorado Springs, Colo., as a television broadcast declares that Republicans have taken control of the Senate. Republican candidates, party committees and outside groups spent about $44 million more than Democrats, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 4:41 pm

As the presidential hopefuls chase after big donors, the Center for Responsive Politics brings us a quick look in the rearview mirror:

The 2014 congressional midterm elections cost $3.77 billion, the center says, making them — no surprise here — the most expensive midterms yet. CRP also reports that those dollars appeared to come from a smaller cadre of donors — 773,582, the center says. That's about 5 percent fewer than in the 2010 midterms.

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It's All Politics
10:38 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Former Campaign Manager Pleads Guilty To SuperPAC Spending

This case is the Justice Department's first prosecution based on the coordination provisions of campaign finance law. They've been on the books, in different forms, for decades.
J. David Ake AP

A veteran political consultant has pleaded guilty to violating the little-enforced coordination provisions of campaign finance law, which bar a candidate's campaign and an outside group from working together on messages and expenditures.

The case involves the unsuccessful House bid of Republican Chris Perkins in 2012. He was challenging Democratic incumbent Gerry Connolly in the suburbs of Northern Virginia.

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Politics
4:54 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

FEC Invites Comment On Campaign Finance Laws At First Public Hearing

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 8:53 pm

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

It's All Politics
6:28 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Koch Brothers Put Price Tag On 2016: $889 Million

Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch speaks in Orlando, Fla., in August 2013.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 7:33 pm

The political network led by industrialists Charles and David Koch plans to spend $889 million for the 2016 elections. In modern politics, it's more than just a ton of money.

It's about as much as the entire national Republican Party spent in the last presidential election cycle, four years ago. And as Sheila Krumholz — director of the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks politicians and donors — pointed out in an interview, it's double what the Koch brothers and their network spent in 2012.

Krumholz summed it up: "It is staggering."

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Politics
4:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Koch Brothers Rival GOP With Plans To Spend $900 Million In 2016

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 4:04 pm

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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It's All Politics
4:07 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

At Koch Summit, A Freewheeling Debate Among GOP Hopefuls

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., center, meets with members of the Londonderry Fish and Game Club in Litchfield, N.H., on Jan. 14. Paul was one of three GOP presidential hopefuls who attended Sunday's semiannual gathering of David and Charles Koch's donor network in California.
Jim Cole AP

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:52 pm

Three Republican presidential hopefuls declined Sunday night to insult some of the party's biggest donors.

Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, asked by debate moderator Jonathan Karl of ABC News if billionaires now have too much influence in both major parties, agreed that it wasn't a problem — if not exactly for the same reasons.

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It's All Politics
9:26 am
Sun January 25, 2015

A GOP Weekend, Courtesy Of The Koch Network And Citizens United

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, leaves the stage after speaking at the Iowa Freedom Summit on Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 2:59 pm

Republican presidential hopefuls are turning out this weekend for two big events, but just one of them, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, plans to be at both.

Cruz is among seven possible contenders who spoke Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit, co-sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and the group Citizens United. Sunday night, Cruz is scheduled to join two possible primary rivals, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., at a semi-annual conference of the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.

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Politics
5:17 am
Tue January 20, 2015

5 Years After Citizens United, Secret Money Floods Into U.S. Politics

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 3:42 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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It's All Politics
5:25 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Conservative Koch Brothers' Group Puts Congressional GOP On Notice

Congressional Republicans have "been given a second chance by the American people," AFP President Tim Phillips said. "And we're going to hold them accountable. We're determined about that."
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 10:12 am

Americans for Prosperity, the most prominent arm of the Koch brothers' organization, put Republican lawmakers on notice Thursday, setting out a conservative agenda for Congress. AFP leaders say it will be pushed by the group's grass-roots supporters in 34 states.

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Politics
4:16 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

5 Years After 'Citizens United,' SuperPACs Continue To Grow

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush listens before a Nov. 20 speaking engagement in Washington.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:45 pm

Prospective Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush is moving to get his share via a new political committee. The way he did it could blaze a new trail for candidates seeking out million-dollar donors.

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NPR Story
5:13 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Progressives Create State Innovation Exchange To Counter ALEC

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:19 pm

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

It's All Politics
11:38 am
Fri December 19, 2014

Advocacy Groups Tell Lawmakers To Back Off

Workers with the Pebble Mine project test-drill in July 2007 in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska near the village of Iliamma.
Al Grillo AP

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 4:00 pm

Three advocacy organizations — across ideological lines — are telling congressional investigators to back off in a probe of EPA ties to a leading environmental group, the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa of California and Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana are leading the investigation. They contend that NRDC lobbyists have exerted too much influence over EPA on the issues of carbon reduction and the proposed Pebble Mine at Bristol Bay, Alaska.

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Business
5:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Should Homeowners With Solar Panels Pay To Maintain Electrical Grid?

Solar energy panels on a roof in Marshfield, Mass.
Stephan Savoia AP

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 12:14 pm

The costs of solar energy are plummeting, and now are about on par with the electricity generated at big power plants. This new reality intensifies a long-running business and regulatory battle, between the mainline electric utility companies and newer firms that provide solar systems for homeowners' rooftops. Sometimes the rivalry looks more like hardball politics than marketplace economics.

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Politics
4:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Spending Bill Provision Would Provide Big Boost To Party Fundraising

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 9:38 am

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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It's All Politics
6:59 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

In Spending Bill, A Gift For Political Party Fundraising

President Obama walks to the podium at his 2008 nominating convention. Lawmakers are inserting into the spending bill a provision allowing political parties to collect up to $97,200 from each donor to pay for their conventions.
Chuck Kennedy,Scott Andrews AP

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 11:56 am

If you're able and eager to write an annual check for roughly $100,000, you might expect to be hearing soon from the Republican and Democratic national committees.

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Politics
5:06 am
Thu December 4, 2014

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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It's All Politics
12:24 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Study: Campaign Cash Brings Tax Benefits On Capitol Hill

J. Scott Applewhite AP

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

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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