ProPublica: Dollars for Profs. “Professors’ outside income can influence their research topics and findings, policy views and legislative testimony. But these conflicts of interest have largely stayed hidden — until now. This unique database allows you to search records from multiple state universities and the National Institutes of Health for outside income and conflicts of interest of professors, researchers and staff.”
Chicago Tribune: Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs law requiring additional disclosure from lobbyists. “When the General Assembly approved the measure last month, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle described it as a small step toward fixing state government ethics laws amid an ongoing federal corruption probe that has ensnared Democratic politicians from Chicago City Hall to the Capitol in Springfield. The law, effective immediately, also requires the secretary of state to create a combined online database for information on lobbyists, campaign contributions and public officials’ annual statements of economic interest.”
DeSmog: The Imperial Oil Files: New Collection Adds to Climate and Energy Research Archives On Science and Denial. “These documents add new context to the groundbreaking investigative reporting by Inside Climate News, and the Columbia School of Journalism in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, that revealed the #ExxonKnew conspiracy. Those journalistic efforts exposed the facts that Exxon’s own climate science research had confirmed the role of fossil fuels in driving global warming, and that the company pivoted away from that advanced knowledge, choosing instead to spend tens of millions of dollars funding climate science denial campaigns.”
The Hindu: In the crosshairs of Facebook ads: Understanding the new infrastructures of political propaganda. “Trying to understand the new infrastructures of political propaganda, [Nayantara] Ranganathan and [Manuel] Beltrán launched [a new site] in July. The website compiles information on political ads running on Facebook and Instagram of more than 300 political actors across 39 countries. The interface shows, among other things, the regional distribution, timeline of ads, demographic targeting, money spent, attention gained, and the ad content. It answers interesting questions such as the amount of money Donald Trump spent on advertising ‘The Wall’ or the misinformation spread around Brexit.”
TechCrunch: Facebook expands its efforts against ad discrimination. “First, it’s expanding the enforcement of these rules beyond Facebook Ad Manager to encompass every other place where someone might buy ads on Facebook: the Ads Manager app, Instagram Promote, the ad creation tools on Facebook Pages and the Facebook Marketing API (which connects with third-party ad-buying tools). Second, it’s expanding its searchable ad library — first created in response to concerns about political misinformation — to include housing ads targeted at an U.S. audience.”
Foreign Affairs: Trapped in the Archives. “Did the United States have a hand in assassinating Congolese and Dominican leaders in 1961? What did President Richard Nixon’s White House know about a successful plot to kill the head of the Chilean army in 1970? After the Cold War ended, did top U.S. military commanders retain the authority to strike back if a surprise nuclear attack put the president out of commission? The answers to these and other historical mysteries are likely knowable—but they are locked in presidential libraries and government archives and inaccessible to researchers. The reason: the U.S. government’s system for declassifying and processing historical records has reached a state of crisis.” A really important read. Please do not miss this one.
Houston Chronicle: Arizona officials working to fix campaign finance website. “As the election year approaches, Arizona officials continue working to overcome glitches in the state-run campaign finance website, officials said. The website called ‘See The Money’ and its campaign-finance database have not worked properly since the 2018 election, The Arizona Capitol Times reported.”