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House to vote on campaign finance disclosure bill
(May 23, 2007)
A bill which would allow more campaign finance oversight is scheduled for a vote tomorrow, The Washington Post reports. "The main bill would significantly tighten reporting requirements for lobbyist campaign contributions, event sponsorship and other activities; require searchable, online public access to the reports; and impose harsh penalties on rule-breakers," Elizabeth Williamson writes.

The New York Times posted an interactive graphic that displays presidential fundraising totals from around the country.Readers can enter speciifc ZIP codes to check donations from a praticular area; candidates' contribution data is from the Federal Elections Commission. The project was created by the Times team of Shan Carter, Matthew Ericson, Vu Nguyen, Aron Pilhofer, and Pau Santemasses.

Cris Barrish from The (New Castle, Del.) News Journal raised questions about the legal loophole in Delaware, which says public officials must be named only when lobbyists spend more than $50 on each one at social events. The (New Castle, Del.) News Journal examined the state's lobbyist database, which details lobbyist spending and gifts received by top state officials since 2002, and found out "A total of $471,200 - nearly two-thirds - was spent on public officials who did not have to be identified." In addition, "Lobbyists paid another quarter-million dollars during the 4 1/2-year period ending June 30 for individual gifts greater than $50."

In a series by Salon.com and the Center for Investigative Reporting, Will Evans exposes a money trail that leads from the pockets of judges to coffers of prominent Republicans - including the President. "At least two dozen federal judges appointed by President Bush since 2001 made political contributions to key Republicans or to the president himself while under consideration for their judgeships, government records show." While not illegal, these contributions are ethically questionable due to their potential influence on lifetime appointments to federal courts. "[T]here must be a balance, some ethics scholars and judges say, between that right and the responsibility of those seeking a judicial post to appear impartial."

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