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
11:26 am
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 Thu May 21, 2015 2:27 pm

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
9:46 am
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 2:47 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
1:37 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 3:07 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
2:39 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 1:38 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
3:58 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 6:11 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
4:08 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 April 29, 2015 8:28 am

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
3:32 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 Fri April 17, 2015 9:27 pm

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
7:03 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 9:46 am

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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It's All Politics
1:12 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Who Needs One SuperPAC When You Can Have Four?

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's campaign recently leaked claims that the four superPACs backing him would pull in $31 million in the campaign's first week.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 11:59 am

As Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., prepared for his official announcement of a White House run, so had Conservative Solutions PAC. It's a superPAC focused exclusively on helping Rubio reach his goal.

Technically, Conservative Solutions has no ties to Rubio. His campaign can't coordinate messages or strategy with it.

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It's All Politics
10:24 am
Thu April 2, 2015

The Menendez Paradox: Facing Charges After Testifying Against Corruption

Sen. Robert Menendez on his way to the Senate floor for a series of votes last week.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 7:50 pm

Sen. Bob Menendez, who came up in the sharp-edged politics of Hudson County, N.J., has been under varying levels of ethics scrutiny in seven of his nine-plus years as a senator.

He'd never been indicted — until yesterday.

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It's All Politics
2:07 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Watchdog Groups File Complaints Against Likely Candidates

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is one of four "un-candidates" being targeted by liberal groups Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21. They say the politicians have crossed the line into candidacy based on their activities in recent months.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 1, 2015 12:30 pm

Updated at 5:40 p.m. ET

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It's All Politics
12:44 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

Money Rules: Candidates Go Around The Law, As Cash Records To Be Smashed

"Who, me? Run?" Would-be presidential candidates are ditching "testing the waters" and "exploratory committees" to hold onto unlimited and undisclosed cash for longer.
LA Johnson/NPR

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 6:32 am

This is Part One in an occasional series of features on campaign finance, called "Money Rules."

The hunt for big bucks is changing the way politicians run for president.

When a candidate finally admits he or she is a candidate, donors are limited to gifts of $2,700. (A donor can give an additional $2,700 if the candidate makes it through to the general election.)

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It's All Politics
12:44 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 4:20 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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It's All Politics
11:47 am
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 1:41 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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Politics
1:54 pm
Tue February 10, 2015

FEC Invites Comment On Campaign Finance Laws At First Public Hearing

Originally published on Tue February 10, 2015 5:53 pm

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

It's All Politics
3:28 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 4:33 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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It's All Politics
1:07 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 4:52 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
6:24 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 11:59 am

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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It's All Politics
2:25 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 7:12 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
1:16 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 3:45 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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