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.
Senate Intelligence Committee Must Disclose More About Russian Election Attacks
October 4, 2017
Americans deserve to know more about the Russian attack to sway the 2016 presidential race and Congress owes them some answers. Without undermining the investigation or any intelligence assets, Congress needs to share more of its findings with the American people. To date most of what citizens know about the attacks comes from media reports.
Inspectors General Must Review Travel & Expenses of High Flying Cabinet
September 29, 2017
Government scrutiny of the travel abuses by cabinet members must continue despite the resignation of Tom Price. Questionable and excessive travel costs are being regularly unearthed by the media. The inspector general of every department and agency should review travel and other expense compliance of top appointees.
Common Cause Commends Introduction of We The People Act by Sen. Udall & Rep. Price
September 27, 2017
At a time when too many Americans do not think they have a meaningful voice in their democracy, when confidence in our institutions is at historic lows, and cynicism at record highs, this democracy reform package is needed more than ever. These reforms are working at the state level, empowering citizens and breaking down barriers to participation for all Americans, irrespective of political party.
Groups Urge Senators to Carefully Scrutinize FEC Nominee’s Controversial Record
September 27, 2017
Today, ten organizations urged Senators to carefully weigh the highly controversial record of James E. “Trey” Trainor III, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). In a letter to the full Senate, the groups emphasized that Trainor, a Texas campaign finance attorney who served as counsel to the president’s campaign committee, has taken a number of hostile stances against existing campaign finance laws.
Facebook Campaign Spending Draws FEC Complaints from Common Cause
September 26, 2017
Today Common Cause filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that Michael Waddell, the host of the hunting show “Bone Collector”, and a Wisconsin businessman made illegal undisclosed independent expenditures in connection with the 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns of Donald Trump. Additionally, Waddell appears to have made excessive in-kind contributions during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Common Cause Files Supreme Court Brief in Challenge to Ohio Voter Roll Purges
September 25, 2017
On Friday, Common Cause filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute, in support of a challenge to Ohio’s aggressive voter roll purge program that stripped hundreds of thousands of Ohioans of their right to vote prior to the 2016 election. The brief focuses on a similar program in Georgia that also disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters and which Common Cause has challenged in court. The Husted brief emphasizes that the High Court’s decision will impact similar programs and millions of registered voters around the country.
Late Facebook Response Does Not Remove Responsibility Congress and Regulators to Increase Transparency
September 21, 2017
Americans have a right to know who is trying to influence their vote—whether hostile foreign nations like Russia, corporate front groups, or wealthy special interests. Facebook’s announcement this afternoon that it shared evidence of fake Facebook accounts and Russian political ads with Special Counsel Mueller and Congressional investigators was slow in coming but it is a step forward as are the broad brushstroke descriptions of their new policies.
Rhode Island Takes Important Step to Secure Elections with Post-Election Audits
September 20, 2017
Last night, the General Assembly passed important legislation to increase security of Rhode Island elections with post-election audits to ensure the accuracy of vote counts. The bills, once they are signed by Governor Gina Raimondo who has publicly supported them, will phase in the use of an innovative procedure called risk-limiting post-election audits. These audits serve as a check on the initial machine counts reported on election night, and confirm that our election results are correct.
In Seattle Common Cause & CLC File Brief in New Challenge to Citizen-Financed Elections
September 20, 2017
Today, Common Cause and the Campaign Legal Center filed an amici brief in Washington State’s King County Superior Court in Elster v. City of Seattle in support of the city’s campaign finance voucher program. The brief makes clear that the Seattle program is consistent with a host of other citizen-funded elections programs upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court since campaign finance reforms were enacted in the wake of the Watergate scandals to curb the buying and selling of influence in the halls of government.
Gov. Snyder Takes Michigan Backwards By Signing Special Interest Campaign Finance Bills
September 20, 2017
Governor Rick Snyder was quick to sign two bills today that will increase the influence of special interests in Michigan. SB 335 and SB 336 are unacceptable attacks on the democratic process by expanding the damage from the Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision in Michigan. Common Cause had organized its 30,000 Michigan members to email and call Gov. Snyder, urging him to veto the bills.
Municipal Elections in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral Postponed Due to Impact of Hurricane Irma on Lee County Voters
September 19, 2017
Governor Rick Scott issued an Executive Order on September 15, 2017, postponing municipal elections in Ft. Myers and Cape Coral to October 3, 2017, following an appeal by Common Cause Florida, State Voices Florida, the League of Women Voters Florida and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law to delay these elections because of the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma on Lee County voters.
Common Cause Florida, State Voices Florida, League of Women Voters Florida and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Call on Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, to Postpone Elections this Month Due to Devastating Impact of Hurricane Irma upon Florida Voters
September 14, 2017
Today, Common Cause Florida, State Voices Florida, the League of Women Voters Florida and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, appeal to Florida’s Governor, Rick Scott, to postpone municipal and statehouse elections scheduled in the coming weeks due to the devastating impact of Hurricane Irma on the State of Florida and Florida voters.
Common Cause, Voters Sue Kris Kobach for Unlawfully Targeting Individual American Citizens Under Cloak of “Advisory Commission”
September 13, 2017
Common Cause and registered voters from Florida, Texas, and New York, filed a complaint against Kris Kobach, Vice-Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, to halt his unprecedented and unlawful investigation into individual American voters.
Common Cause Lauds Virginia Decision to Retire Vulnerable Voting Machines Before November Elections
September 8, 2017
The Virginia State Board of Elections voted this afternoon to retire voting machines that have been identified as vulnerable to manipulation and tampering and will shift to the use of paper ballots statewide before the November election. Common Cause and other groups had urged the board to retire the Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines, before the upcoming election because they do not produce a durable paper record of votes. Computer scientists have long advised that paper ballots should be used for voting because they are not digital and therefore cannot be altered by malware.
Russian Facebook Political Ad Buys During 2016 Election Draw DOJ & FEC Complaints
September 7, 2017
Today Common Cause filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that one or more unknown foreign nationals made expenditures, independent expenditures or disbursements in connection with the 2016 presidential election in violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act.
Trump ‘Election Integrity’ Commission “Flawed From the Start” Common Cause Report Finds
September 7, 2017
President Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission is a flawed vehicle designed to provide cover for outrageous and unsubstantiated claims made by the President as an excuse for why he lost the popular election a new report from Common Cause, “Flawed from the Start,” documents. When compared to other recent high-profile commissions convened to improve our voting and elections process, the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is unique in that it is heavily stacked with noted vote suppressors.
Common Cause Files SCOTUS Brief & Coordinates Amici in Landmark Challenge to Wisconsin Partisan Gerrymander
September 6, 2017
Late yesterday, Common Cause filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in Gill v. Whitford in support of plaintiffs’ challenge to Wisconsin’s partisan gerrymander which was ruled unconstitutional by a federal three-judge panel. Common Cause also played a key role in coordinating amici in the case.