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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It's All Politics
12:45 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Gyrocopter Pilot On His 'Incredible' Flight Onto Capitol Lawn

Doug Hughes said he sees his future as working for "the cause of getting a Congress — not more liberal, not more conservative — but a Congress that is working for the people."
Peter Overby NPR

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 7:39 am

Florida postman Doug Hughes made headlines last month for landing his gyrocopter on the lawn in front of the Capitol building.

In an interview with NPR, Hughes said he "made every effort to send word ahead" about the flight, but also knew he would be taken into custody. He made the flight anyway, he said, to "get a message to the American people — not that there's a problem with Congress but that there are solutions to the problem."

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It's All Politics
11:46 am
Fri May 15, 2015

'Candidates' Driving Cash-Filled Trucks Through Campaign-Finance Loopholes

Candidates, and "un-candidates," for the presidency are slicing and dicing campaign-finance law, testing the boundaries of what's legal.
TaxCredits.net via Flickr

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 4:47 pm

If Congress is all about sausage-making, Washington's political-money industry has its own specialty: slicing the particular sausage that is campaign finance law, thinner and thinner.

The meat of the law is in its definitions. What is a "contribution"? An "expenditure"? What does "coordinate" really mean? "Public communication"? How about "candidate"?

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It's All Politics
3:37 am
Fri May 8, 2015

17 Months Before Election Day, One Campaign Aims For $100 Million

"Exploratory" Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush speaks April 17 at the First in the Nation Republican Leadership Conference in Nashua, N.H. His super PAC — Right to Rise — is aiming to raise $100 million dollars by June 1.
Brian Snyder Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri May 8, 2015 5:07 pm

The price tag for the most expensive penthouses in Manhattan is just edging past $100 million. That's also the size of contributions given by conservative businessman David Koch and Hollywood mogul David Geffen to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, where each philanthropist got naming rights for a building.

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Politics
4:39 am
Mon May 4, 2015

Beyond Quid Pro Quo: What Counts As Political Corruption?

Can candidates courting billionaires count as corruption, even if there are no explicit strings attached? Some activists see the campaign contributions of the super-rich as a problem, regardless of whether "quid pro quo" deals are made. Here, activists protest the political influence of the wealthy Koch Brothers near David Koch's Manhattan apartment on June 5, 2014.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 3:38 pm

The presidential hopefuls haven't spent much time so far with voters. Instead, they've committed many days to courting the millionaires and billionaires who can fuel a White House bid. And at the same time, activists on the left and right are seeking to redefine political corruption, which they believe this is.

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It's All Politics
5:58 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Court: Corporations May Be People, But 'Judges Are Not Politicians'

David Barrows, of Washington, D.C., waves a flag with corporate logos and fake money during a rally against money in politics outside the Supreme Court in 2013.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 8:11 pm

If there's one thing that today's Supreme Court doesn't like, it's governmental overreach in regulating political money.

But if there's something the court likes even less, it's the increasing prominence of money in electing America's judges. That's how five justices came to uphold a rule in Florida that prevents judicial candidates from personally soliciting campaign cash.

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