September 8, 2008 Veteran Democratic political consultant Craig Varoga is running a network of 527 organizations, with names like Patriot Majority, aimed at helping Democrats in Senate, House and gubernatorial races this year.
August 28, 2008 Who was behind the inflammatory ad that showed Obama wearing a turban? The answer could be the start of a joke: a hypnotherapist, an apolitical wedding videographer, and a felon now on the run. And they still haven't paid for the ad.
August 26, 2008 Formed in 2007, Freedom's Watch was seen as the conservative counterpart to Moveon.org and spent $15 million on an ad campaign backing President Bush's troop "surge" strategy in Iraq. Lately, it has shifted its attention toward congressional elections.
August 22, 2008 Representing 3.2 million employees of schools and educational institutions, the National Education Association calls itself the largest professional employee organization in the country. It has plans for the biggest political mobilization in its history this year, spending tens of millions of dollars on the presidential and congressional races.
August 20, 2008 American Future Fund is a 501(c)(4) led by a collection of professionals who worked for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. The fund advocates free-market policies, offshore oil drilling and the development of nuclear energy. It's focusing its efforts on competitive Senate races.
August 12, 2008 AFL-CIO is a federation of 56 unions, representing 10.5 million members. The federation has dedicated $53 million and 200,000 volunteers for a voter mobilization campaign this election season, its largest effort ever.
August 12, 2008 Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens is running a multi-million-dollar advocacy campaign aimed at reducing the United States' dependence on foreign oil. Though Pickens wants the plan to be carried out by private industry, he is calling on the next president and Congress to help make it happen.
August 7, 2008 The Secret Money Project is an ongoing investigation into the role that independent groups will play in this year's presidential and congressional races. The law does not hold these groups accountable in the same way as it does candidates or political parties. In many cases, the source of the groups' money remains secret. Here, a primer on the who, what, when, where and how of independent groups.
August 6, 2008 Every presidential election has legions of behind-the-scenes operatives who toil for the candidates and for the major parties. One such operative is union activist Anna Burger of the Service Employees International Union, who helps to lead one of the fastest-growing unions in America.
August 4, 2008 America Votes is an umbrella group formed in 2004 to coordinate the efforts of liberal groups trying to defeat President Bush. Other than SEIU, it raised and spent more money than any other political action committee in 2006.
August 4, 2008 As a conservative group, the Club for Growth's goals include making President Bush's tax cuts permanent. This year, the group has been active in congressional races but has not decided whether to support GOP presidential candidate John McCain.
August 4, 2008 Founded in 1916 as the first U.S. birth control clinic, Planned Parenthood provides health centers around the country and advocates for reproductive rights. The organization's action fund has endorsed Obama.
August 4, 2008 Formed in 2006 by Iraq war veterans, VoteVets opposes the Bush administration's handling of the war and backs mostly Democratic veterans running for Congress.