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Opposition Research DIGGING UP THE DIRT. BlogConCLT 2012 Mandy Nagy Investigative Writer & Researcher Breitbart News. LIBERTY CHICK Writer. Researcher. Activist. www.libertychick.com libertychickblog@gmail.com @Liberty_Chick. ABOUT ME.

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slide1

Opposition Research

DIGGING UP THE DIRT

BlogConCLT 2012

Mandy NagyInvestigative Writer & ResearcherBreitbart News

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide2

ABOUT ME

“The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat.”

― Confucius

  • Investigative writer & researcher at Breitbart.com
  • Several years at LexisNexis
  • Many years in internet technology & marketing, including market research
  • Began doing research consulting on the side
  • Specialty areas grew out of my time as a compulsory union member and independent research work

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide3

SOURCE AREAS

List of resources is located on my “Research” page at: libertychick.com/research

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide4

PUBLIC RECORDS

SOURCES: LexisNexis, PACER, National Center for State Courts, Secretary of State websites, Hoovers, EDGAR

  • Real estate records
  • Court records & bankruptcies
  • Liens and judgments
  • Professional licenses
  • Intellectual property filings
  • Business records, such as business filings, public company filings
  • Uniform Commercial Code (UCC ) – sales, leases, financial assets, etc.)

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide5

NON-PROFIT SEARCHES

SOURCES: GuideStar (free & premium), IRS website, Secretary of State websites, OpenSecrets.org

  • Types of formations (501c3, 501c4, 527, PAC, etc.)
  • IRS Form 990, Form 990-PF, Schedule A, etc. reveal key people, salaries, donors
  • Lobbying activity & FEC filings
  • State/Local influence on campaigns and ballot measures
    • – FollowTheMoney.org
  • Connections to other organizations & people
    • – Muckety, SourceWatch & Discover the Networks

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide6

NON-PROFIT SEARCHES

Form 990-PF filing

Sample free report from Guidestar

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide7

LABOR UNIONS

SOURCES: Dept of Labor Website, UnionReports.gov, OpenSecrets.org

  • LM filings
    • Financial reports
    • Paid vendors
    • Contributions
    • Officer/employee reports
  • Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs)
  • Lobbying activity

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide8

LABOR UNIONS

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide9

COMPANY SEARCHES

SOURCES: EDGAR, Hoovers, Dun & Bradstreet, Better Business Bureau, many of the same sources as non-profits & public records

  • Shareholder reports & disclosure filings,EDGAR provides free public access to corporate info
  • News articles and press releases
  • BBB comments
  • PTO filings
  • Court records
  • Board members & key execs
    • Muckety

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide10

GOVERNMENT RECORDS

SOURCES:

  • USASpending.gov & FedSpending.gov contain info on govt grants, contractors, etc.
  • Recovery.gov allows you to download raw data on stimulus funds
  • GovTrack.org, bills in Congress
  • FollowTheMoney.org, influence of campaign money at state & local levels
  • Legistorm has info on congressional staff & salaries
  • USA.gov
  • Google, with syntax

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide11

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

SOURCES: Dept of Justice, US Office of Special Counselhttp://www.osc.gov/foia.htm

  • “A Citizen’s Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Government Records” [U.S. House of Representative Committee on Govt Reform]
  • Includes:
    • Information on the law
    • Qualifications for FOIA requests
    • Limitations/exclusions
    • Guidelines & sample request letter

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide12

PEOPLE - SOCIAL MEDIA

SOURCES: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Spokeo, Intelius, Blogs, Public Records, Targeted Google Searches,Websites

  • People search & public records (be mindful of T&C’s, laws)
  • Social media provides info on connections/relationships;also reveals who can communicate privately
  • Resumes, work history provide jumping off points for additional research
  • Searching connections can yield new clues (Classmates.com)
  • Search cache (Google cache, WayBackMachine)
  • Don’t forget blog comments & forum postings
  • Cautious notes on Social Engineering

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide13

REFERENCES

LexisNexis

http://www.lexisnexis.com (unfortunately, LexisNexis by Credit Card/Pay As You Go no longer available)

PACER

http://www.pacer.gov

National Center for State Courtshttp://www.ncsc.org/topics/access-and-fairness/privacy-public-access-to-court-records/state-links.aspx

Labor Union Reports

http://www.dol.gov/olms/regs/compliance/rrlo/lmrda.htm

FOIA Requests – Office of Special Counsel

http://www.osc.gov/foia.htm

FOIA Requests - Handbook

“A Citizen’s Guide on Using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974 to Request Government Records”

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide14

REFERENCES

FedSpending

http://www.fedspending.org

USASpending

http://www.usaspending.gov

FollowTheMoney

http://www.followthemoney.org

Muckety

http://www.muckety.com

Legistorm

http://www.legistorm.com

Sunlight Foundation

http://www.sunlightfoundation.com/resources

Guidestar

http://www2.guidestar.org/Home.aspx

OpenSecrets.org

http://www.opensecrets.org

Hoovers

http://www.hoovers.com

EDGAR

http://www.sec.gov/edgar.shtml

Dun & Bradstreet

http://www.dnb.com

IRS Charities

http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=249767,00.html

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide15

ADDITIONAL TOOLS

Using Advanced Search Syntax (Google)

http://support.google.com/websearch/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=136861

Screen Capture Software: Hypersnap DX (from Hyperionics)

http://www.hyperionics.com/hsdx

Internet Archive [WayBackMachine]http://archive.org/web/web.php

DNS Lookup + IP Lookup + Traceroute

http://www.dnsstuff.com

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick

slide16

THANK YOU!

This presentation will be posted at

http://libertychick.com/research

LIBERTY CHICK

Writer. Researcher. Activist.

www.libertychick.com

libertychickblog@gmail.com

@Liberty_Chick