Ben Wieder, McClatchyDC

Ben Wieder


Washington, DC, United States

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Past articles by Ben:

Influential economist defended construction giant. Secretly it paid his firm millions

Economist Andrés Dauhajre Hijo was a defender of an Odebrecht coal plant project in the Dominican Republic. Turns out the one-time advisor to former President Hipolito Mejia was getting paid by the company. → Read More

Under Trump, KC area transit projects see changing fortunes in federal funding

Under President Donald Trump, federal funding for transportaiton projects more often favors rural over urban areas, and road projects over public transit, a McClatchy analysis of data shows. In the Kansas City area, the Turner Diagonal and KC Streetcar are examples. → Read More

Trump states and rural areas grab bigger chunk of transportation grant funds

States President Trump won in 2016, such as Texas, Kentucky and South Carolina, have benefited from a transportation grant program. Instead of promoting innovation, much of the funding supports road projects → Read More

San Francisco 49ers stadium tax fight heads to court

The Santa Clara County Assessor appealed a November decision that cut the 49ers’ property taxes in half on the $1.3 billion stadium and required the county to refund $36 million to the NFL team. → Read More

Trump deplores Chavistas, but did he cash in selling property to one of them?

A Trump-related project in the Dominican Republic that catered to Chavistas is an example of how little is publicly known about some of the Trump Organization’s foreign entanglements and the potential for conflicts with U.S. policy. → Read More

Beto O’Rourke is losing donors to Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg

Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg have poached donors from Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand in the first quarter of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. → Read More

Democrats are calling on the same donors, but few are ready to spend

Democratic presidential contenders have relied on many of the same donors throughout their careers. But in the early stages of the 2020 race, few of those big spenders are prepared to pick sides. → Read More

FEMA has kept a lower profile in Camp Fire than after hurricanes. Here’s the reason.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which is tasked with coordinating federal agencies in responding to a disaster, has so far issued far fewer orders for help from other agencies than it does after hurricanes. But experts say the agency is doing its job. → Read More

Here’s what we know — and don’t know — about the remaining votes in Florida

With almost all the votes counted, counties were looking at ‘provisional ballots’ — and a weird ballot anomaly in Broward. → Read More

Election 2018: What burger was king among political spenders?

Upscale hamburger chain Shake Shack was the biggest recipient of 2018 campaign cash among national burger chains, with political groups spending nearly $13,000 at the chain. It edged out Five Guys, the recipient of roughly $9,500 in political spending, and largely California-based In-N-Out Burger, which sold nearly $5,500 worth of food. → Read More

Why did a Democratic group pay Sean Spicer $250?

Some former Trump White House and campaign staffers are cashing in on the 2018 midterms as Republican candidates pay them to headline fundraising events, appear at campaign rallies and record robocalls. → Read More

Democratic presidential contenders send cash to critical 2020 states

Nearly two-dozen prospective 2020 Democratic contenders have collectively spent more than $1.3 million on contributions, travel and voter lists in the critical early-voting states. → Read More

Stacey Abrams, Andrew Gillum draw cash from same bank of national donors

Seeking historic wins in Georgia and Florida, Stacey Abrams and Andrew Gillum have collected millions of dollars from thousands of donors who have contributed to both gubernatorial candidates → Read More

National megadonors, with eyes on 2020, flood Florida governor’s race with cash

Out-of-state billionaires, hedge-fund tycoons, entertainment icons, corporate CEOs and public employee unions are pouring cash into Florida’s gubernatorial race.. → Read More

‘None of us had a grasp of how difficult this would be:’ Parkland PAC scales back

A political group started by parents of Parkland students is scaling back its ambitions for the midterm elections. The group aimed to raise $10 million to take on the NRA. It’s only raised $230,000. → Read More

Congress is on the line in 2018. But groups are already spending on Trump 2020

Even as Republicans fight to keep control of Congress, at least six political action committees have spent more than $9 million to promote Trump’s re-election on TV, by phone, by mail and online since he took office → Read More

Senators demand probe of FEMA awards to inexperienced bidders after Hurricane Maria

Two Democratic senators write a letter to FEMA seeking details about large contracts given to inexperienced companies involved in Puerto Rico relief efforts. → Read More

NRA’s spending is way down in the 2018 midterms. Does it have ‘a popularity problem?’

The NRA’s political spending is sharply down ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, which could reflect a drop in fundraising following mass shootings in Parkland, Florida and elsewhere and an FBI probe into the group’s Russia ties. → Read More

Candidates hit snooze button on hacker threat, saying defending cyberattacks is hard

The Federal Election Commission reported Democratic and Republican party candidates don’t spend enough money defending campaigns from cyber threats, even when they’re aware of the dangers of getting hacked. → Read More

Title-pawn shops ‘keep poor people poor.’ Who’s protecting Georgians from debt traps?

An Investigation shows title-pawn companies in Middle Georgia enjoy little federal or state regulation. Three top companies headquartered in GA are TMX Finance, Select Management Resources, Community Loans of America. → Read More