Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell is slated to become the Senate’s new Majority Leader if the Republicans maintain control of the Senate in the November 2006 election. His rise to power has long been linked to his prowess as a fundraiser. This investigation — run in four parts — offers an exclusive look by Herald-Leader reporter and author John Cheves into the inner workings of Senator McConnell’s fundraising operations.

Cheves, who has covered McConnell from Kentucky for years, reviewed thousands of corporate and government documents, and interviewed scores of people in Washington and, by telephone, around the country – from McConnell himself to current and former aides, current and former senators from both parties, lobbyists, clients of lobbyists, donors, political party operatives, campaign-finance advocates and others who have dealt with or simply observed McConnell during his 22 years in the Senate.

PART ONE: October 15, 2006
Price tag politics
Senator McConnell’s pet issue: money and the power it buys.

PART TWO: October 18, 2006
Foreign aid wins friends
A senator’s generosity is rewarded.

PART THREE: October 20, 2006
Two for the money
When McConnell’s pull fails, his labor secretary wife fills in.

PART FOUR: October 22, 2006
A lucrative connection
A lobbyist’s close ties to the senator pay off for them both — and clients.

Visit the Lexington Herald-Leader’s website for more information on this series, including documents used in the investigation and a special report on McConnell’s relationship to the pharmaceutical industry.