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.

Pages

It's All Politics
10:38 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 3:00 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.

Read more
Business
4:15 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 11:14 am

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.

Read more
Politics
3:16 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Spending Bill Provision Would Provide Big Boost To Party Fundraising

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 8:38 am

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

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
It's All Politics
5:59 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 10:56 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.

Read more
Politics
4:13 am
Thu December 4, 2014

Senators Try Again To Make Disclosure Process Electronic

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 5:44 pm

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Read more
It's All Politics
11:24 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Study: Campaign Cash Brings Tax Benefits On Capitol Hill

J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 6:55 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."

Read more
It's All Politics
4:24 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Big Money Is Helping GOP Win In State Legislatures Too

House members and those newly elected to the Legislature gather in the House chamber at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. Nov. 7, 2014. Arkansas' legislature is just one of 31 state legislatures in Republican control.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 5:32 pm

Every election cycle, big donors open their checkbooks for the Republican State Leadership Committee and the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, two Washington-based party organizations that are gradually remaking state legislative elections.

Read more
Politics
2:48 am
Mon November 17, 2014

Top Spenders On Capitol Hill Pay Billions, Receive Trillions

The amount of money spent on Capitol Hill is way more than small change — but the impact of that money is a little murky. Here, the U.S. Capitol is reflected in a fountain full of coins on Election Day this year.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 2:24 pm

How much power should corporations wield in Washington? It's an enduring question — and now the Sunlight Foundation has devised a new way to gauge that power.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:51 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Alaska Station Sets Dubious Record: Most Senate Campaign Ads

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dan Sullivan greets supporters on election night in Anchorage. The as-yet-undecided race between Sullivan and Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Begich was the hottest in the state.
Ted S. Warren AP

It's a record most Alaskans might wish they could give back: The Center for Public Integrity calculates that KTUU TV in Anchorage ran more U.S. Senate ads this cycle than any other television station in the country — 12,300 in all.

Those Senate spots made up the bulk of the 13,400 political ads since January. KTUU General Manager Andrew MacLeod says 2014 was the the station's busiest year ever. By contrast, off-year 2013 was relatively light.

Read more
Politics
3:21 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Climate Change Activists Come Up Short In Midterm Elections

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 9:23 am

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

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Read more
Politics
3:16 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

The 4 Big Numbers To Know In The Midterm Elections

Originally published on Tue November 4, 2014 5:32 pm

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

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
It's All Politics
4:39 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

What Can $3.7 Billion Buy? How About 2,969,370 Campaign Ads

Spending on next week's elections is approaching $4 billion, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Center for Responsive Politics

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 7:25 pm

Two new reports find that the House and Senate elections will cost about $3.7 billion — up just slightly from the past two election cycles — with outside groups buying their largest share yet of the television advertising.

Read more
Politics
3:39 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Money Mixes Up Missouri Circuit-Court Race

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 12:17 pm

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

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now another story of big, political money coming to small-town America. In Cole County, Missouri, a circuit court judge is fighting to stay on the bench. Her challenger was underfunded until he got some outside help. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

Read more
Politics
3:47 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Democratic Climate Activist Is Election's Biggest Donor — That We Know Of

Tom Steyer recently said in a video that "climate change is not just an important issue, it's the issue. And we need leaders who will take it seriously."
Isaac Brekken Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 23, 2014 3:14 pm

Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer has spent an astonishing $58 million this election cycle, more than any other donor in the traditional, fully disclosed part of the political system. He recently gave $15 million to a superPAC.

Read more
Politics
3:23 am
Mon October 20, 2014

This Political Ad Was Paid For By — Oh, Never Mind

Among outside groups — that is, not candidates or party committees — more than half of this cycle's political ads are financed by secret donors.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:42 pm

When you talk about "outside" money in politics, there's a good chance you'll talk about billionaire activists David and Charles Koch.

Especially if you're Harry Reid. The Senate majority leader regularly takes to the Senate floor to slam the Kochs for financing a network of conservative groups. Back in March, he said he was criticizing "two very wealthy brothers who intend to buy their own Congress, a Congress beholden to their money and bound to enact their radical philosophy."

Read more

Pages