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Posted inMoney and Politics

How we analyzed Democratic legislators’ fundraising

When Speaker John A. Pérez asked Democrats in the California Assembly to make political donations, how did lawmakers respond? Were lawmakers who gave large sums rewarded with powerful positions in the new Legislature? What were the outcomes for lawmakers who didn’t give? For this report on campaign finance dynamics during the 2012 state election, the […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Error claims cast doubt on Bank of America foreclosures in Bay Area

Joji Thomas was desperate to save his home. The San Francisco mechanical engineer sold his car, tapped into his wife’s savings and begged friends for money. In July, to stave off foreclosure, he bought a $27,777.85 cashier’s check and mailed it to Bank of America.  Joji Thomas (right) directs movers as he packs up his […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Subsidiaries handling foreclosures pay off for Bank of America

Bank of America has found a way to make money through foreclosures by using a complicated web of subsidiaries. The process begins with a company called ReconTrust, which handles 1 in 5 Bay Area foreclosures. Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America plays the largest role of any bank in Bay Area foreclosures. From July 2008 through October, […]

Posted inMoney and PoliticsNational Security

Government secrecy orders on patents keep lid on inventions

This photo illustration is based on James Greer’s patent application for technology that could detect objects, including stealth aircraft. He lived under a secrecy order for eight years.Jaena Rae Cabrera/Center for Investigative Reporting More than 10 years ago, Robert Gold sought to do what many Americans have dreamed of their whole lives: patent an idea. […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Corporations, free-market nonprofits foot bill for judicial seminars

Conservative foundations, multinational oil companies and a prescription drugmaker were the most frequent sponsors of more than 100 expense-paid educational seminars attended by federal judges over a 4 1/2-year period, according to a Center for Public Integrity investigation. Among the seminar titles were “The Moral Foundations of Capitalism,” “Corporations and the Limits of Criminal Law” […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Silicon Valley firms shelter assets overseas, avoid billions in U.S. taxes

 Creative Commons/Richie Fingers The largest tech companies in the Bay Area have avoided paying federal taxes on more than $225 billion they have accumulated through foreign subsidiaries, documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission show. By sheltering their assets overseas, Silicon Valley companies such as Apple, Google, eBay and Hewlett-Packard are able to reduce […]

Posted inMoney and Politics

Report highlights questionable purchases made in the name of national security

Derek Purdy/Flickr An armored personnel carrier bought by a sheriff’s office in Washington state with anti-terrorism dollars was used to pull over a suspected drunk driver. A $21 fish tank, a hog catcher and a $24,000 “latrine on wheels” were purchased with homeland security funds in Texas. A counter-terrorism summit was held on an island […]