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
7:37 am
Sun June 26, 2011

Speculation Runs High In Presidential Money Race

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney greets a volunteer at his "National Call Day" fundraising event at the Las Vegas Convention Center on May 16.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

This week marks a milestone in the presidential race. At midnight Thursday, the second quarter ends, and the campaigns have to tally up their first financial reports of the election cycle.

The filing deadline isn't until July 15, so it's now high season for speculation about who's got enough campaign money and who doesn't.

President Obama was back in New York City this week, where at three fundraisers in one evening, he revived for donors their 2008 vision of what America could be.

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Politics
12:01 am
Wed June 22, 2011

The 'Country Lawyer' Shaping Campaign Finance Law

Attorney James Bopp talks to the media outside the Supreme Court on April 28, 2010, after arguing a case testing whether the names on a petition asking for the repeal of Washington state's domestic partnership rights should be kept secret.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Wed June 22, 2011 2:33 pm

A new loophole is being pried open in the campaign finance rules. It would enable federal candidates to once again solicit corporate money to finance organizations that promise to help them get elected.

The idea comes from a lawyer who has done more than anyone else over the years to upset the status quo in America's political money laws — James Bopp Jr., of Terre Haute, Ind.

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Politics
12:01 am
Mon June 20, 2011

Report: Obama Big-Money Donors Got Plum Posts

President Obama and the first lady attended a total of six fundraising events last week, half of them small gatherings with top-dollar donors. They also got a reminder of what comes with reliance on high rollers: An unflattering analysis of how many big givers in 2008 wound up with jobs in the administration.

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Food
11:26 am
Tue June 7, 2011

Lobbyists Want Fries and Pizza To Stay In School

Pizzas in the lunchroom at a Chicago high school.
Tim Boyle Getty Images

Some student food favorites are under attack in Washington. The Agriculture Department has released new standards for school nutrition and has published them for public comment. Speaking right up are lobbyists for the food industry.

The standards, the first new version since 1994, would limit starchy vegetables to two servings a week. That guideline covers corn, peas, lima beans, and a hot item in the serving line — french fries.

But the CEO of the National Potato Council, John Keeling, says not so fast.

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