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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Politics
3:00 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Against 'Dark Money,' A Star Witness Speaks In Congress

Originally published on Wed April 30, 2014 5:18 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens testified in a Senate hearing today on the surge of secret money in politics. Stevens retired from the court a few months after the Citizens United ruling in 2010. He had issued an emphatic dissent in the case, which allowed corporations and unions to spend without limits in campaigns.

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Law
4:17 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Rep. Grimm Pleads Not Guilty To Fraud Charges

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 11:52 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

New York City Congressman Michael Grimm is a former FBI agent. Yesterday he surrendered to the FBI after being indicted on 20 charges related to taxes, perjury and fraud. Mr. Grimm is fighting the charges but said he would step down from the powerful House Financial Services Committee. News of Grimm's indictment leaked last Friday, so that announcement yesterday was not a surprise.

But the charges were. NPR's Peter Overby explains.

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Politics
4:34 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Pay-To-Play Laws Celebrate 20th Anniversary

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during an April 17 news conference in New York.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Fri April 25, 2014 6:15 pm

While the Supreme Court this month took another step in freeing up big political donors, another set of federal restrictions on political money is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The so-called pay-to-play rules — enforced by the Securities and Exchange Commission — are a narrow but powerful way to control political cash.

Think "pay to play" and you might think of video games or high school sports. But in politics, "pay to play" refers to something totally different — a particular kind of political corruption.

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It's All Politics
1:26 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Gingrich 2012 Campaign Still Owes $4.7 Million

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich waves after addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference annual meeting in National Harbor, Md., on March 8.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 2:13 pm

Newt 2012, the presidential campaign vehicle for Newt Gingrich last time around, couldn't bag the Republican nomination for him.

And now, the former House speaker's committee still owes $4.7 million from the attempt.

The campaign tells the Federal Election Commission that its debt on April 1, 2014, was just $14,507 less than the amount owed on May 31, 2012 — the month Gingrich officially suspended his White House bid.

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Politics
3:08 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Pursuing IRS Controversy, House GOP Pivots Toward Crossroads

Originally published on Wed April 9, 2014 5:48 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee have voted to seek the criminal prosecution of former IRS official Lois Lerner. They allege that she violated several laws as the tax agency grappled with conservative groups seeking tax exempt status. The vote also marked a sharp turn in Republican strategy in the year-long controversy.

NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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Business
4:10 am
Fri April 4, 2014

Did A Federal Safety Agency Help General Motors Avoid A Recall?

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 7:22 am

As details emerge about GM's handling of an ignition switch recall, a question is raised again: What is the relationship between regulators and the regulated, and the revolving door between the two?

Politics
3:51 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Court's Decision Will Encourage Joint Fundraising Committees

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 6:53 am

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down limits on how much a single individual can give in total to candidates and parties. The ruling could give wealthy donors even more influence in elections.

Politics
6:53 am
Sat March 29, 2014

Activists Push Public Financing Of N.Y. Political Campaigns

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 10:27 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The U.S. Supreme Court could deliver a new ruling as early as next week that could undo existing limits on regulating political money. But on the other hand, a coalition of liberal groups has started pushing for the public finance of elections. They essentially want to give money to candidates so they don't have to chase big donors. And the current fight is going on in New York's state capitol, Albany. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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Politics
2:15 am
Wed March 26, 2014

Say Goodbye To The Taxpayer-Funded Political Convention

Ever since the Watergate era, taxpayers have been able to check a box on their federal tax returns and designate a little bit of their tax payment to help finance the presidential campaigns and wean politicians away from big donors.

The public financing program has had its ups and downs. But now President Obama is prepared to sign legislation that, for the first time, takes taxpayer money out of the fund.

First of all, let's pause to reflect on some of the great moments of American political conventions brought to you by presidential matching funds.

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Politics
3:31 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

Even Amid Tensions, Russia's PR Team Is At Home In D.C.

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 6:59 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Even as the United States and Europe ratchet up pressure on Russia, the Russian Federation has a lobbying team here in Washington. That might seem odd but it's not unusual, as NPR's Peter Overby reports.

PETER OVERBY, BYLINE: There's no mistaking how the United States feels toward the Russian Federation. Today, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the administration strongly condemns Russia's use of force in Crimea.

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Politics
4:08 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Is Organizing For Action Too Close To The White House?

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 9:28 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Next we're going to unravel another potential political scandal. It involves a tax-exempt advocacy group with ties to President Obama. Organizing for Action is saying it broke its own rules against hooking up big donors with White House officials. Critics are unimpressed. NPR's Peter Overby breaks it down for us.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, OFA. Hey.

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It's All Politics
12:18 pm
Thu March 13, 2014

What's Holding Up Ukraine Aid Bill In Congress? Anger Over IRS

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. (from left), Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk and Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., met on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.
Mike Theiler UPI /Landov

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 12:38 pm

With members of the House and Senate scrapping over a Ukraine aid bill, Republicans say a magic bullet could break the logjam.

It has nothing to do with the former Soviet republic, its ability to withstand Russia's military intervention in Crimea, or this weekend's referendum in the Ukrainian territory.

It has everything to do with conservatives' fury at the IRS, which they say has waged a partisan, and unconstitutional, war against President Obama's opponents.

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Politics
3:00 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Outside Groups Lay Millions On Florida Special Election

Republican David Jolly thanks supporters during a campaign rally in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla.
Steve Nesius AP

Originally published on Tue March 11, 2014 5:51 pm

The campaign for a congressional seat in St. Petersburg, Fla., will have seen some $10 million in spending by candidates and outside groups. Where did all of this money go?

Politics
3:16 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Running Against The Koch Brothers

Americans for Prosperity Foundation Chairman David Koch addresses attendees of the Defending the American Dream Summit in Orlando, Fla., Friday, Aug. 30, 2013.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 6:50 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Since the start of the year, the political ad war against vulnerable Democratic senators has not been run by the Republican Party. Instead, the attacks have been coming from a tax-exempt social welfare group called Americans for Prosperity. Now, Democrats are pushing back. Instead of going after the organization, they're attacking its most prominent benefactors, conservative billionaires David and Charles Koch. NPR's Peter Overby reports.

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Movies
4:12 am
Thu February 27, 2014

FBI's Abscam Videos Are As Unbelievable As 'American Hustle'

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:30 am

The Oscar contender is loosely based on the Abscam sting, which nailed a senator and six House members on corruption charges. The FBI videotaped some Hollywood-worthy scenes.

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