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Money & Influence 11.24.2020

Inglewood caps campaign contributions at $100,000 to avoid new state law

“Campaign finance is a constant game of cat and mouse. As soon as states and cities institute campaign finance laws, bad actors try to circumvent them,” California Common Cause campaign finance consultant Sean McMorris said. “They’re essentially rolling out the red carpet for moneyed interests and saying we don’t care what anyone thinks.”

Assemblyman Appoints His Mother to Fresno Agency Board. Is it Nepotism?

Sean McMorris, a policy consultant with the non-partisan good government group California Common Cause, said the move raises questions. “In general, it is frowned upon and viewed as unethical when an elected appoints a family member or a close friend or relative to a position,” McMorris said.

SCCOE Trustee Joe DiSalvo Used Public Resources to Solicit Campaign Contributions

Sean McMorris, a consultant with good government agency California Common Cause, says the state law “is clear that public resources cannot be used ‘for campaign activity, or personal or other purposes.’ While using a government email account for re-election fundraising might fall within the minimal use exception in the law, depending on the circumstances, it likely violates the letter and certainly the spirit of the law,” he said. “That said, many would agree that an elected official using their government email to fundraise for their re-election campaign is unethical, regardless of whether or not it is unlawful in all instances.”

Money & Influence 07.22.2020

Democrats for Rent Control or Democrats for Rent?

Still, the big-dollar donations are impossible to ignore, argued Sean McMorris, a policy and organizing consultant with California Common Cause. “Those campaign contributions are going to create goodwill between [industry donors] and politicians — whether they be direct or through independent expenditure committees that benefit a particular candidate. The message is received. Any politician who says they can disconnect themselves from the large sums of money is lying.”

Ethics 06.12.2020

The Future of Remote Government Meetings Rests with Good Policy

“We need guardrails in place to ensure that governing doesn’t move further out of public view,” Stein said in an interview with Government Technology. “We recognize that government needs flexibility in this moment to respond to the crisis or the multiple crises going on in America today. But in order for government to act effectively, there has to be accountability, and there has to be transparency.”

New director for California Common Cause to fight model minority myth and “false sense of security” in Asian American community

But discriminatory laws and practices do not have Asian American exemptions. Stein pointed out that there is no Asian American exemption to a federal public charge rule that targets immigrants. There is no Asian American exemption to deportations or to racially gerrymandered districts. To Stein, the rise in xenophobia and anti-Asian sentiment during the coronavirus pandemic makes this even more apparent.

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