campaign finance

President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talk in the Oval Office following their Nov. 29, 2012 lunch.
Pete Souza / The White House

For the past three presidential election cycles, Oklahoma has cemented its status as the “reddest of the red states.” No Democratic presidential candidate has won a single county in Oklahoma since Al Gore in 2000, and in 2004 neither incumbent President George W. Bush nor Democratic nominee John Kerry visited the state nor spent any advertising dollars here.

Oklahoma received only $1,300 in ad revenue from national GOP and Democratic organizations during the 2012 election cycle, according to campaign finance data analyzed by FairVote and The Journal Record's Brian Brus:

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi
Oklahoma Department of Education

While national groups like governors' associations were among the top donors for state-level elections across the country in 2014, in Oklahoma it was candidates themselves who spent the most money trying to win elections last year.

A new analysis from the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity shows the top single donor to a state-level election in Oklahoma was former Republican State Superintendent Janet Barresi, who gave $1.3 million to her own unsuccessful re-election campaign.

Brian Hardzinski / KGOU

An independent expenditure group that paid for television advertisements opposing State Superintendent Janet Barresi in last month’s primary has not filed required spending reports with the Oklahoma Ethics Commission.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down an overall cap on the amount that large campaign donors can give to parties and candidates in a two-year election cycle.

In a 5-4 decision split between conservatives and liberals on the high court, the court said the limits were a violation of the First Amendment.

Part two of our "Secret Persuasion" story reported with the Center for Responsive Politics. Read the first part here.

As tax-exempt organizations become a vehicle of choice for big political donors, one powerful appeal is the anonymity. Federal laws allow tax-exempt groups — unlike political committees — to withhold their donor lists from disclosure.