FCC Vote Tomorrow Will Weigh the Public Interest Against Corporate Interests
December 13, 2017
This may well be the last gasp of the open internet, as big telecom’s majority as the FCC decrees instead the Gate-keeper’s Internet—a shadowy world of monopoly, commercialism, and conspiracy in restraint of democracy that totally subverts the promise of what might have been.
Common Cause Pennsylvania Names Micah Sims Its New Executive Director
December 4, 2017
Today, Common Cause announced that Micah C.T. Sims has been named Executive Director of Common Cause Pennsylvania. Micah brings to the position a diverse background that includes community organizing and advocacy, working as a radio and television host, and continuing in a calling to ministry.
Corrine Brown Betrayed Her Constituents Out of a Sense of Entitlement
December 4, 2017
The sentencing of former Congresswoman Corrine Brown today to 5 years in prison is not about misplaced trust by her, but misplaced trust by her District 5 constituency and all Floridians that her long career in Congress was in her own self-interest and not in service to them. Brown betrayed her constituents who sent her to Washington to represent their interests, not her own. The sense of entitlement that allowed Brown to participate in this fraud to enrich herself in the name of underprivileged children is extremely disappointing.
Flynn Plea an Encouraging Sign but Trump Administration Must Quit Obstructing the Investigation
December 1, 2017
The guilty plea of Michael Flynn to lesser charges is an encouraging sign that the investigation is continuing apace. The fact that he is not currently being charged with the rest of the laundry list of apparent violations that have come to light is a clear sign that he is cooperating with the Special Counsel’s investigation.
Common Cause Calls for Full Disclosure of Congressional Slush Funds and Shady Deals Used to Hide Sexual Harassment & Other Abuses
November 29, 2017
Today, Common Cause called on Congress to pass legislation to close the loopholes and disclose settlements that have allowed Members to hide sexual harassment and other abuses for decades. A series of high profile cases involving abuse by Members has brought to light the slush funds and secretive negotiations that have allowed abusers to remain on the job.
FCC Scuttling of Net Neutrality is Another Handout to Big Business at Expense of Consumers
November 21, 2017
The reckless wrecking ball strikes again. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s scorched-earth plan for net neutrality displays callous disregard for both process and substance. The Chairman’s plan to do away with net neutrality will be a disaster for consumers and yet another handout for big business.
Potential Nominee Thomas Brunell Would Politicize 2020 Census
November 21, 2017
Politics have no business in the Census but the Trump Administration’s leading candidate for the deputy director slot at the Census Bureau, Thomas Brunell, would introduce blatant partisan politics into the national headcount. Discontent from Capitol Hill over Brunell’s political partisanship may have scuttled his candidacy for the top slot at the bureau but as deputy director he skirts the confirmation process.
AT&T-Time Warner Merger Violates Antitrust Laws, Politics Should Not Have Had Any Role in DOJ Decision
November 20, 2017
On its face the AT&T-Time Warner merger clearly violates of antitrust law and President Trump’s railing against CNN should not have played any role in the Justice Department’s decision to bring suit. We have always maintained that vertical mergers of content and carriage violate well-established and pro-consumer antitrust principles. Blessing AT&T’s monopolistic bid to acquire Time Warner would harm consumers and the public interest.
FEC Bows to Pressure and Votes to Open Rulemaking for Online Political Ad Disclosure
November 16, 2017
Americans expect and deserve to know who is bankrolling the political ads that follow them around the internet. In the wake of revelations about Russian use of internet ads to sway the 2016 presidential race, Common Cause and 17,945 members and supporters made that expectation very clear to the FEC, filing comments with the agency last week. In total, more than 150,000 Americans spoke out in comments and petitions with the agency—an FEC rulemaking record.
FCC Vote Kneecaps Local Media by Clearing Way for Massive Mergers like Sinclair-Tribune
November 16, 2017
Even for this craven FCC majority, today’s vote to bless more media consolidation represents an awful new low. The FCC just wiped away time-tested and common sense safeguards that promote vibrant local media by ensuring voters have access to competing sources of news. By blessing consolidation this majority has ensured newsroom redundancy, meaning fewer working journalists to hold the powerful to account. And if that were not enough, let Big Broadcast get even bigger means cable customers nationwide will pay higher bills.
Colorado Launches First-in-Nation Robust Vote Tally Audit Statewide
November 16, 2017
Election officials in Colorado are setting an example for nation today, taking a critical step to double-check the reported results of last week’s election with a statewide “risk limiting” post-election audit.
Common Cause Urges FEC to Require Disclosure of Online Political Ads Sponsors
November 9, 2017
Today, Common Cause and 17,945 members and supporters filed formal comments urging the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to open a rulemaking to update its rules by requiring online political advertisements to include “paid for by” information just like TV, radio and print ads.
Lawsuit Against Pence-Kobach Commission By Sitting Member Again Exposes Mission As a Sham
November 9, 2017
As if further proof was needed, the lawsuit filed today by Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap removes a shred of legitimacy the Pence-Kobach Commission has tried to cling to since its creation.
Tax Bill Amendment Offers Another Giveaway to the Rich
November 9, 2017
The American people do not expect that their charitable contributions will be used for partisan political ends. The tax bill amendment offered by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) and passed on a party-line vote expands the bill’s previous rollback of the Johnson Amendment – buried more than 400 pages into the legislation – to now allow all charities to enter partisan politics, including well-funded front groups like the American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC). This takes the bill beyond just a massive giveaway to the nation’s billionaire class to now allow wealthy special interests to manipulate the charitable sector for partisan political ends, all with a subsidy from American taxpayers.
Wisconsin Legislature’s Vote Leaves Nation Only Six States Shy of Article V Constitutional Convention
November 8, 2017
The Wisconsin Legislature’s vote yesterday to call a constitutional convention under Article V leaves the nation in a perilous position, just six states shy of calling a convention that could lead to the rewrite of the U.S. Constitution.
New Report: “Putin, Trump and Democracy’s Slippery Slope Toward Oligarchy”
November 7, 2017
Today, Common Cause will release a new report - “Putin, Trump and Democracy’s Slippery Slope Toward Oligarchy”- that examines Russia’s attacks on the 2016 presidential election, the continuing threats to our democracy and solutions to address these threats. It also examines how the campaign and Administration of Donald Trump have harnessed our system’s weaknesses to their political and personal benefit.
Common Cause Calls for Investigation of Wilbur Ross’ Offshore Investments in Kremlin-linked Companies
November 6, 2017
Today, Common Cause called on the Inspector General of the Commerce Department to investigate Secretary Wilbur Ross’ significant investments in a shipping company closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle that came to light through the “Paradise Papers.”
Victory: City of Seattle’s Innovative Public Financing System Will Stand
November 3, 2017
Today, the city of Seattle’s democracy voucher program has been upheld as constitutional. The Superior Court of the State of Washington for King County issued an opinion finding that the city’s pioneering public financing system is a valid tool for the city government to foster citizen involvement in elections, which is a goal “vital to a self-governing people.”
Special Interest Tax Giveaway Also Thrusts the Pulpit into Politics
November 2, 2017
Buried in the final pages of the tax bill’s handouts to deep-pocketed special interests is a troubling provision that would allow houses of worship to actively engage in partisan politicking. For more than a half century the Johnson Amendment has prohibited 501(c)(3)s, including religious organizations, from participating in political campaigns. If this bright line is removed the abuses will inevitably follow and the loopholes will be expanded. Overwhelmingly members of the clergy support the Johnson Amendment prohibition on political activity but there will inevitably be bad actors and money will change hands for endorsements and more. The mixing of partisan politics, religion and money would not end well and has no business in this legislation.
Guilty Plea & Indictments Against Trump Campaign Officials Show Need to Safeguard Mueller’s Russia Investigation
October 30, 2017
Today’s guilty plea by Trump campaign advisor George Papadopoulos for lying to investigators about his contacts with Russian nationals with ties to high-level Kremlin officials during the campaign and the indictments against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his deputy Richard Gates, hammer home the need to allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to run its course without interference.
Common Cause Calls for Congressional Investigation of Whitefish Energy Puerto Rico Contract & Open Hearings
October 27, 2017
Today, Common Cause urged Congress to fully investigate and hold public hearings on the massive no-bid contract awarded to a tiny Montana company to rebuild the Puerto Rican power grid devastated by Hurricane Maria. According to press reports, Whitefish Energy only had two employees at the time the hurricane made landfall in Puerto Rico but was awarded a $300 million contract.
FCC Deals Blow to Local News then Announces Vote Next Month to Remove Hurdle to Massive Sinclair-Tribune Merger
October 25, 2017
Media monopolization imperils democracy - fewer press outlets mean less of the accountability journalism that American voters depend on to cast informed ballots. Meanwhile corrupt politicians can rest easy that the depleted local press corps will be less likely to report on graft. Ajit Pai’s anti-public interest wrecking ball is poised to strike again.
Klobuchar, Warner, McCain Online Transparency Bill Good First Step in Response to Russian Election Attacks
October 19, 2017
Americans have a right to know who is using political advertising to influence their votes and their views. As technology changes and political advertising shifts to online platforms, our transparency laws should keep pace. The recent revelations of Kremlin-connected influence operations on Facebook and Twitter underscore how important it is for Congress to take meaningful action. The bipartisan HONEST Ads Act is a critical step forward in enhancing the transparency of online political advertising. Common Cause commends Senators Klobuchar, Warner and McCain for their strong bipartisan leadership in introducing this important bill to bolster the integrity of our democracy.
Trump’s Threat Against NBC Broadcast License an Attempt to Intimidate
October 11, 2017
“This madcap threat, if pursued, would be blatant and unacceptable intervention in the decisions of an independent agency. The law does not countenance such interference."
DEFCON Election Hacking Report Hammers Home Need to Safeguard Our Elections
October 10, 2017
Americans expect and deserve free and fair elections, but the release of a report on the Voting Machine Hacking Village at DEFCON last summer lays bare the vulnerabilities of our nation’s election equipment, databases and infrastructure. The Atlantic Council’s convening of a bipartisan group of national security advisors, cybersecurity experts and election officials to establish protocols to safeguard our elections is welcome news.