Additional funding provided by the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund, with support from The Orfalea Foundation.

Big Sky, Big Money

October 30, 2012

How has the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision changed campaigns in America?

(53:46) A tale of money and politics from Montana, the epicenter of the campaign finance debate.

What’s the Future for Campaign Finance Reform?

Studies suggest that Americans are concerned about the influence of wealthy donors in politics. But when it comes to finding feasible solutions for reforming campaign finance, there’s little consensus, and plenty of challenges.

In Big Sky Country, a Campaign Finance Fight Reverberates Still

A former Montana lawmaker has been banned from politics in an ongoing controversy around the role of “dark money” groups in the post-Citizens United campaign landscape.

Election Spending Reached New High in 2014, Despite Fewer Donors

Spending on Congressional elections reached its highest level ever in 2014, even though fewer Americans donated money.

Report: After Citizens United, Outside Spending Doubles

Campaign spending by outside groups, such as super PACs, has more than doubled in the past five years — and most of it is coming from the super-rich.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Limits On Campaign Spending

The ruling, which strikes down certain limits on individual campaign contributions, all but ensures a greater role for wealthy donors in American politics.

More Politicians Accused of Illegal Collusion with Dark-Money Group

WTP may have illegally colluded with at least nine candidates in 2010, Montana’s political practices commissioner says, in the latest revelations about the dark-money group’s activities.

Remember Those Campaign Finance Documents We Found in a Meth House…?

A scathing Montana court order means the docs will stay with a grand jury to aid its investigation of the dark-money group WTP.

Is This Supreme Court Case the Next ‘Citizens United’?

The case, McCutcheon v. FEC, would lift the limit on how much donors can give to parties, candidates and PACs.

Montana Pols Aim to Check Dark Money Spending

The state has become ground zero for outside campaign spending. Some politicians don’t like it and they plan on taking it to the voters.

“Big Sky, Big Money” Wins Investigative Reporting Award

The joint project with “Marketplace” and ProPublica explores how the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision changed political campaigns in America

Will the Supreme Court Lift Political Contribution Limits?

Alabama businessman and conservative activist Shaun McCutcheon donated $33,088 to 16 candidates during the 2012 election cycle, but he wanted to give much more. So he took his case to the courts.

Watchdogs Urge IRS to Investigate “Dark Money” Group

Two campaign-finance watchdog groups urged the IRS on Wednesday to investigate whether the nonprofit Western Tradition Partnership submitted false information to obtain its social welfare status in 2008.

Montana Court Rules “Dark Money” Group Violated State Law

The court found that Western Tradition Partnership, the focus of FRONTLINE’s October investigation “Big Sky, Big Money,” used “subterfuge” to avoid complying with state disclosure law during the 2008 election cycle.

Montana to Probe Dark Money Group’s Link to Campaigns

The dark money group from Citizens United is under investigation in Montana for illegally coordinating with political campaigns.

Check ‘Em Out: Donations to Dark Money Group Revealed

FRONTLINE and ProPublica are putting checks written to Western Tradition Partnership online. Released under a court order last week, the records give a rare look inside the controversial dark money group.

Dark Money Group’s Donors Revealed

Bank records released under a court order show that Western Tradition Partnership’s donors included an Oklahoma businessman, a Colorado builder and other dark money groups linked to Ron Paul.

Dark Money Group’s Bank Records Suggest Ties to Campaign Work

Records show that WTP checks were signed by an advisor to political candidates.

A Protest and a Break-In: Fallout from “Big Sky, Big Money”

“Big Sky, Big Money” is causing ripples in Montana, where protesters gathered outside ATP, and the office investigating the group reported a break-in.

Live Chat 2:30 p.m. ET: How is Big Money Changing Our Elections?

Join a chat for “Big Sky, Big Money” with the film’s correspondent Kai Ryssdal, producer Rick Young and ProPublica reporter Kim Barker. Wednesday 10/31 at 2:30 pm ET. You can leave a question now.

James Bopp: What Citizens United Means for Campaign Finance

James Bopp, the lawyer behind Citizens United, on why he wants to bring down more campaign finance laws. “Political speech is still the most highly regulated activity protected by the First Amendment,” he told FRONTLINE.

Trevor Potter: The Political Reality of Citizens United

The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in Citizens United has resulted in less transparency and the potential for more corruption in the nation’s campaign finance system, says former federal election commissioner Trevor Potter.

What You Need to Read on Money & Politics

This year’s election is the most expensive in history, with outside groups calling the shots in political races across the country.

The Rules That Govern 501(c)(4)s

Why these groups can spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections — without disclosing their donors

Citizens United and the Rise of the Campaign… Stalker?

Armed with high-definition cameras, their job is to follow and film everything a political candidate says and does.

Should Campaign Donors Be Disclosed?

A new Marketplace story asks whether anonymity is detrimental or essential to the political process.

Citizens United Lets Unions Canvass for More Votes

When it came to asking for votes, unions once could only knock on their own members’ doors. Not anymore.


53:41Putin's Way01/13/2015
1:54:11United States of Secrets05/13/2014
blog comments powered by Disqus


Frontline Journalism Fund

Supporting Investigative Reporting

Funding for FRONTLINE is provided through the support of PBS viewers and by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Major funding for FRONTLINE is provided by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding is provided by the Park Foundation, the John and Helen Glessner Family Trust, the Ford Foundation, Wyncote Foundation, and the FRONTLINE Journalism Fund with major support from Jon and Jo Ann Hagler on behalf of the Jon L. Hagler Foundation.

Privacy Policy   Journalistic Guidelines   PBS Privacy Policy   PBS Terms of Use   Corporate Sponsorship
FRONTLINE is a registered trademark of WGBH Educational Foundation.
Web Site Copyright ©1995-2015 WGBH Educational Foundation
PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.