Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Astroturfing is when interest groups run a campaign that’s designed to look like it’s grassroots in nature. A document obtained by public radio shows the oil industry is at the center of more than a dozen Astroturf groups in Washington, Oregon, and California.

A.J. Balukoff /

Balukoff began the hour-and-a-half back-and-forth by introducing himself as a successful businessman and longtime Boise school trustee. Otter touted his administration’s fiscal responsibility, and Bujak attempted to paint himself as an alternative candidate who would change the way Idaho government works.

By the end of the forum, the three had touched on Idaho’s economy, school funding, the state of its roads and bridges, a prison scandal, and more.

Campaign Photos

Incumbent Democrat John Kitzhaber and Republican challenger Dennis Richardson faced-off in the resort town of Sunriver.

Austin Jenkins

Washington lawmakers convene Monday for what could prove to be the most partisan session in a decade. Control of the Washington Senate is up for grabs this fall. Currently, a coalition of 24 Republicans and two breakaway Democrats hold a three seat advantage. Democrats think they have shot at winning back the majority in November. Both sides will be looking for political advantage over the next 60 days.

Two Washington state lawmakers are defending their frequent dinners with lobbyists. The meals show up in monthly reports filed with the state’s Public Disclosure Commission. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins has been digging into those reports.

An expected special session of the Washington legislature would mean another freeze on political fundraising. State law prohibits lawmakers from soliciting contributions while they are in session. For most members that’s probably not a huge concern since this is an off-election year. But a few legislators will be on this year’s ballot.

The so-called session freeze on fundraising lifts at 12:01am on the day after adjournment. It goes back into effect at 12:01am on the first day of a special session. You can bet candidates will make the most of whatever window they get.

Deborah Wang / KUOW

Starbucks holds its annual shareholders' meeting in Seattle on Wednesday. And on the agenda, a proposal from a group of investors that's meant to limit the company's involvement in political campaigns.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – In the world of state legislatures, there’s a powerful breed of players who normally shun the spotlight. They prefer to work behind the scenes to influence policy outcomes. We’re talking about business lobbyists. Inside this often hidden world, you’ll meet two of the most successful corporate contract lobbyists in the Washington state capitol. And learn some of their tricks of the trade.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Some of the results may not be known for weeks, but the most expensive election ever in Washington state wrapped up last night.

Who In The NW Helps Pay For Swing State Ads

Nov 2, 2012

Northwest voters are spared most presidential campaign ads. But Northwest money still plays a part in them. A handful of big spenders from the region are bolstering major super PACs behind a barrage of ads now hitting swing states. Jessica Robinson reports.