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The Center for Public Integrity
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In 750 words, here's everything you need to know about the Supreme Court's recent "McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission" decision:
The Supreme Court recently decided to eliminate 'aggregate limits' on contributions. We tell you what that means.
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What an amazing day. 

Our 'Breathless and Burdened' investigation into the U.S. black lung benefits system was honored today with a Pulitzer Prize. 

Hearty congratulations to Lead Reporter Chris Hamby, Project Editors Ronnie Greene and Jim Morris.
Winning investigation exposed the systematic denial of benefits to sufferers of black lung disease by lawyers and doctors.
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Just a year after its inception, Primary Source, our quick-hit, document-based campaign finance blog is in the running for a Webby Award!

(For those who haven't heard of the Webbys, they award two winners in each category: one is picked by judges, and the other is chosen a bit more democratically ... by voters!)

Cast your vote for the Best Political Blog here:

And tell your friends! Voting will be open until April 24.
Center project named one of the Internet's best political blogs.
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“Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades — despite the profound offense such spectacles cause — it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.”
-Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts in the majority opinion for today's "McCutcheon v. FEC" decision

Politics Reporter Michael Beckel has more on today's pivotal campaign finance ruling, including the dissenting opinion from Justice David Breyer:
Citing First Amendment concerns, 5-4 Supreme Court majority tosses out aggregate limits on campaign contributions.
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Since the Supreme Court's 'Citizens United' decision nearly four years ago, some feared the possibility of an onslaught of corporate cash that would now be permitted in U.S. elections. 

That direct flood of money (and influence) never really materialized, but instead, many corporations chose to play politics in a more subtle way: by donating to "dark money" nonprofits.

For our first major investigation of 2014, we spent months pouring over corporate disclosures of more than 300 companies and compiling a database that will let you track political contributions.
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Have them in circles
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There's been a lot of back-and-forth today on our Pulitzer win, and whether or not our entry gave fair credit to our "Breathless and Burdened" partners, ABC News. (If you care to get caught up, see this entry from Poynter Online:, and this item from Politico:

While the word "integrity" in our name perhaps lends itself to joking and word play, we take accusations of hypocrisy very seriously. We fully stand behind our Pulitzer entry that states Chris Hamby covered new ground during every step of reporting for "Breathless and Burdened."

At the end of the day (or week, who knows), when all of this dies down, "Breathless and Burdened" has already received journalism's highest honor: real-world impact. Because of our reporting, sick coal miners who got black disease as a result of their job now have a better shot at receiving compensation from their employer. And as Poynter's Al Tompkins put it, "You can’t put that reward on a shelf."
Setting the record straight over credit on the Pulitzer for investigative reporting.
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Budget cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency are driving a new strategy that focuses less on routine inspections and enforcement, while diverting more attention to criminal cases.

Compared to the year 2012, the number of federal EPA inspections will have dropped by 30 percent by 2018. This decline equates to thousands fewer inspections annually.

While the agency is trumpeting technological innovation as a means to shift focus, advocates worry benefits of this advancement will be lost on certain communities — some of which do not have electricity, let alone Internet access.
The EPA's "Next Generation Compliance" plan would lead to fewer inspections of, and enforcement actions against, polluters.
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With Obama is this possible? It's not in his agenda! 
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The first line of this U.S. Labor Department memo serves as a great reminder of why we do accountability journalism — even though it might not always be the most popular news out there.

Because of our 'Breathless and Burdened' investigative collaboration with ABC News, and resulting reform from the Labor Department, coal miners with black lung now have a better shot at getting compensation for their job-related disease.

As our Executive Director Bill Buzenberg writes in this week's Watchdog column, winning awards is great recognition for our reporters' hard work. But at the end of the day, we want our investigations to make an impact in the lives of real people — that's what matters. Read Bill's column here:
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Black and Latino kids, along with other ethnic minorities, will comprise the majority of U.S. children in four years, but a new report finds many such children face multiple obstacles to education and job preparation in certain states.

African-American kids face especially daunting obstacles in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Michigan. Native American kids face the biggest challenges in South Dakota. Latino children are faring especially poorly in Alabama, Rhode Island and Nevada. West Virginia and Mississippi showed the worst results for white kids. Juvenile Justice Reporter Susan Ferriss breaks down the rest of the Casey Foundation's report here: 

Curious about changing demographics in your state? The Casey Foundation compiled their results in a searchable database:
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The California Supreme Court declined an appeal last year that accused Wells Fargo of predatory lending. Financial disclosures show one of the justices who weighed in on that decision owns at least $100,000 worth of Wells Fargo stock. 

This clear conflict of interest in California is by no means unique, but with largely dismal state-level judicial disclosure rules that fall far below what is required by federal judges, situations like this could be the tip of the iceberg. 

We graded each state (plus D.C.) on its financial reporting requirements for justices, and doled out more than a few failing grades. See how your state scored here:
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Have them in circles
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Investigative journalism in the public interest.
The Center for Public Integrity was founded in 1989 by Charles Lewis. We are one of the country's oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit investigative news organizations. Our mission: to reveal abuses of power, corruption and dereliction of duty by powerful public and private institutions in order to cause them to operate with honesty, integrity, accountability and to put the public interest first.