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Access and Influence by Ron Nixon


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Ron Nixon presents during the free business journalism workshop, "Follow the Money -- Tracking Companies' Influence on Politics."

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Access and Influence by Ron Nixon

  1. 1. Access and Influence: A guide tofollowing the money and legislative or regulatory outcomes.
  2. 2. Money: The Mother’s Milk of politics.    There  are  two  things  that  are  important  in  poli1cs.  The  first  is  money  and  I  cant  remember  what  the  second  one  is.  -­‐-­‐  Ohio  poli)cal  boss  and  U.S.  Senator  Mark  Hanna,  1895  and  fundraiser  for  President  William  McKinley.  
  3. 3. Tracking the Money In:—  Campaign  Contribu.ons  —  Personal  Financial  disclosures  —  Lobbying  disclosure  forms  —  Nonprofit/527’s  —  Property/Real  Estate  —  Adver.sing/  —  Super  PACs  
  4. 4. Tracking the Money Out:—  Federal/State/Local  Contracts  —  Earmarks/Tax  benefits/Regula.ons  —  Vote  for/against  legisla.on/regula.on  —  Revolving  Door  (Jobs,,  hiring  spouse,  former   staffers)  —  Trips  and  GiPs  —  LeQers  of  Support/LeQermarking  —  Appointments  —  Giving  to  Founda.on/nonprofit  linked  to  lawmakers  
  5. 5. Tax me if you can!
  6. 6. Documents Used—  Joint Tax Committee in Congress—  U.S. Tax Code—  Senate and House Member Websites—  Senate Office of Public Records—  Campaign Finance reports
  7. 7. Axis of Evil Business?
  8. 8. Documents Used—  Office of Foreign Asset Control license database obtained through lawsuit against Department of Treasury.—  Letters in OFAC files written by members of Congress in support of companies seeking permission to operate in Iran.
  9. 9. Pizza as a Vegetable?
  10. 10. Documents Used—  Lobbying Disclosure records—  Federal Register—  Comments on proposed regulations written by members of Congress and industry obtained through website.
  11. 11. The End of Earmarks?
  12. 12. Documents Used—  Lobbying disclosure records—  Appropriation bill—  Committee reports
  13. 13. Lettermarking!
  14. 14. Documents Used—  Letters obtained under Freedom of Information Act to various agencies
  15. 15. It just won’t die!
  16. 16. Documents Used—  Cuts, Consolidations and Saving budget report from the White House—  Lobbying disclosure reports—  Campaign finance reports
  17. 17. It won’t die either!
  18. 18. Documents Used—  Cuts, Consolidation and Savings budget report from the White House—  Lobbying disclosure reports—  Campaign finance report—  The Congressional Record
  19. 19. Charitable Contributions
  20. 20. Documents Used—  Campaign Finance reports—  Lobbying Disclosure reports—  Annual Reports—  Foundation tax forms
  21. 21. Not for Profit!
  22. 22. Documents Used—  Congressional Earmark requests—  Lobbying disclosure records—  Campaign finance reports— website—  I.R.S.
  23. 23. I’m a Business, Man!
  24. 24. “Disregard the Man behind the Curtain!”
  25. 25. Documents Used—  Congressional Records—  Lobbying disclosure reports
  26. 26. We are the Champions!
  27. 27. —  Campaign Finance reports——  Congressional websites—  Congressional votes database
  28. 28. All in the Family!
  29. 29. Documents Used—  LegiStorm database—  Lobbying disclosure reports
  30. 30. Regulators! Mount Up!
  31. 31. Documents Used—  Agency travel records—  Office of Government Ethics private sponsored travel reports
  32. 32. A Seat at the Table.
  33. 33. —  Agency websites—  State Campaign finance records—  Meeting notes—  Legislative audits
  34. 34. Bad Medicine
  35. 35. Documents Used—  State and Federal Campaign Finance Records—  State and Federal Lobbying disclosure records—  Political ad records from local TV stations—  Corporate annual reports—  I.R.S. tax form 990
  36. 36. Tying Contributions to Outcomes: Resources—  The Congressional Record—  Lawmakers websites——  FOIA—  Lobbying disclosure forms—  Office of Government Ethics—  Federal Register—  Guidestar/IRS 990s
  37. 37. Resources Cont:—  Appropriation bills and committee reports—  Authorization committees (House and Senate)—  Letters/Communications between Agency staffers and former employers.—  Thomas—  GovTrack—  LegiStorm—  Federal Advisory Committees—  Congressional Tax Committees
  38. 38. So Damn Much Money!