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money in politics

INSTITUTE INDEX: How Entergy thwarted energy resilience in Louisiana

September 10, 2021 - Hurricane Ida's devastation of Louisiana's electric grid and the deadly power outages that resulted show the risk that highly centralized generation systems present in an era of increasingly destructive climate change-driven weather events. Yet Entergy — a Fortune 500 company that's the main power provider for the hard-hit southeastern part of the state, including New Orleans — has fought plans to move toward cleaner community-based generation. Will Ida mark a turning point?

INSTITUTE INDEX: The money behind disinformation attacks on NC voting machines

July 23, 2021 - Taking a cue from controversial efforts in other states like Arizona and Georgia, North Carolina's far-right House Freedom Caucus — repeating the Big Lie about "rigged elections" — wants to be allowed to open up the state's voting machines and peer inside, but state elections officials say that presents an unacceptable security risk. We look at who's funding the caucus leaders' campaigns.

How Art Pope's money shaped UNC's toxic debate over Nikole Hannah-Jones

July 16, 2021 - Long before journalist Hannah-Jones' tenure fight with the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees, the influential conservative policy network built and funded by millionaire businessman and GOP power broker Art Pope had turned its attention to her reporting on racism with attacks and distortions reminiscent of its dishonest treatment of climate science. Pope denied direct involvement in the tenure controversy, but his organizations' messaging carries weight in a UNC system where he's a major donor and serves on the powerful Board of Governors thanks to the Republican legislature he helped elect.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Corporations' political money disconnect on transgender rights

April 9, 2021 - A growing number of companies are publicly condemning discrimination against transgender people and taking steps to support trans employees. But some of the same businesses are also funding Southern politicians promoting policies harmful to the transgender community. One standout is AT&T, the telecom giant headquartered in Dallas — also the top corporate contributor to state lawmakers seeking to restrict voting rights.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Who's funding the Senate's Sedition Caucus?

January 11, 2021 - The legal, real estate, investment, and oil and gas industries are among those that have contributed the most to the U.S. senators who were part of the effort to overturn the outcome of the presidential election. Among the companies that back spending groups which in turn have supported the Senate's election deniers are Altria Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Noble Energy, and Walt Disney. There's growing pressure on companies to reconsider their giving.

INSTITUTE INDEX: Meet the conservative powerbroker suing True the Vote over fraud claims flop

December 4, 2020 - North Carolina pharmaceutical entrepreneur Fred Eshelman gave $2.5 million to the Houston-based group to pursue claims of fraud in the presidential election, which he says they failed to take adequate action to substantiate. It's not the first time Eshelman, a big political spender who gives most of his money to outside groups, has been involved in funding ethically questionable efforts.