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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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The Constitution and the Supreme Court both say a president is largely immune from civil lawsuits. The chief executive does critical work leading the nation, the logic goes, and shouldn't be bedeviled by ordinary civil lawsuits.

That's the argument that President Bill Clinton used almost exactly 20 years ago, when he tried but failed to stop the sexual harassment suit brought by Paula Jones. Now it's being made by lawyers for President Trump, against a sexual harassment suit brought by Summer Zervos, a former contestant on Trump's TV show The Apprentice.

What's it like to sue President Trump? For Jeffrey Lovitky, with a one-lawyer firm in Washington, D.C., it's not a great feeling.

"It is intimidating. I am intimidated," he said in an interview with NPR. "I mean, I would rather not be doing this."

But he has done it, and when he couldn't enlist anyone else to be the plaintiff, he took on that role, too.

"I think people are afraid to put their name out there on a lawsuit against the president," he said. "There is a sense that Donald Trump can be very difficult on people who oppose him."

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Federal records indicate that a key adviser to President Trump held substantial investments in 18 companies when he joined Trump in meetings with their CEOs.

The investments of Christopher Liddell, the president's director of strategic initiatives, totaled between $3 million and $4 million. Among the companies in Liddell's portfolio, and whose CEOs were in the meetings: Dell Technologies, Dow Chemical, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase, Lockheed Martin and Wal-Mart.

The owners of a wine bar in Washington, D.C., say they face unfair competition from an unusual source: the president of the United States.

Diane Gross and Khalid Pitts own the Cork Wine Bar, located about 20 blocks north of both the White House and the nearby Trump International Hotel.

Gross and Pitts say that their restaurant is losing business to the hotel restaurant run by the Trump Organization, which is owned by President Trump. So they're suing him and his hotel.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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House Democrats are pursuing a strategy to force Republicans to take repeated votes on whether to investigate President Trump's ethics and alleged ties to Russia.

The Democrats failed Tuesday evening as the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee rejected such an investigation. A party-line vote ended a long day of wrangling, barely two hours before the president took the rostrum in the House chamber for his address to Congress.

On Monday, the Senate will vote on Wilbur Ross' nomination as the U.S. commerce secretary. As required by the Ethics in Government Act, the billionaire businessman has reached an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics to sell off most of his holdings.

A liberal advocacy group on Wednesday called upon New York State to investigate whether the Trump Organization has engaged in fraud and illegal activity, and consider revoking its corporate charter.

The request is not falling on deaf ears.

New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman provided no specifics but told NPR a charter challenge is indeed part of a broader discussion among Democratic attorneys general about President Trump's business holdings.

President Trump and his companies have been trying to navigate potential conflicts and the emoluments clause of the Constitution since before he was sworn in. The list of questions about those conflicts continues to grow, including how Trump is adhering to constitutional rules around compensation from foreign leaders and states.

Ever since Donald Trump was elected president in November, questions have been raised about the lease he signed to operate a luxury hotel in the Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C.

The lease specifically says the lease holder cannot be a federal elected official. So critics repeatedly have called upon the federal General Services Administration to enforce its agreement, and make President Trump walk away from his deal to run the Trump International Hotel.

Updated 8:45 p.m. ET

South Dakota's citizen-led experiment to "drain the swamp" of political corruption appears to have lasted less than three months.

Lawmakers in the state Senate voted 27-8 Wednesday to repeal the voter-approved initiative and send the measure to the governor. The legislation was given emergency status so it would take effect immediately when the governor applies his signature — which he said he expects to do.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Even as President Trump takes steps to restrict visitors from some majority-Muslim countries, he and his family continue to do business in some of the others.

Ethics experts question whether that might indicate conflicts between Trump's business interests and his role as U.S. president.

The executive action, "Protecting The Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States," targets seven nations: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Trump has no business interests in those countries.

Nobody in Washington ever went wrong by hiring more lawyers, and now President Trump and the Trump Organization are beefing up their legal teams against an expected surge of conflict-of-interest allegations.

President-elect Donald Trump's type of wealth — based largely on the value of his brand name and on global real estate holdings — doesn't fit well with existing ethics laws, which were written for an earlier time when rich politicos mainly invested in stocks and bonds.

To be clear, some ethics laws do apply to the incoming president.

If you have a lot of money to spare, and want to spend time with the Trump family right after the inauguration, earlier Tuesday it seemed you might have been able to make that dream come true.

A new nonprofit organization, the Opening Day Foundation, had advertised access to the Trumps at a big charity event to be held Jan. 21.

The online invitation raised questions about exchanging huge charitable donations for face time with Trump's oldest sons.

Now, the site just says "Coming Soon."

In five weeks, President Donald Trump's inauguration parade will roll past his new luxury hotel near the White House. But just over two weeks from now, Trump has to sit down with several lawyers and give a sworn deposition in a lawsuit involving the hotel.

What's the lawsuit about?

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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