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Abuse of Power

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Nebraska Examiner: ‘Partisan balance’ requirements on state commissions ignored, sidestepped

Gavin Geis of Common Cause Nebraska said it was disappointing and concerning that the partisan balance requirement had been ignored and sidestepped. “It’s put in there for a purpose, so we have some sort of diversity of opinion and perspective on questions of policy,” Geis said. “That diversity of thought leads to better outcomes.” “Not everyone has the opinion of a registered Republican,” he added. “It certainly should not to be skirted around.”

Money & Influence 03.26.2024

Cincinnati Enquirer/Louisville Courier Journal: How conservative Florida groups pushed controversial child labor, SNAP bills in Kentucky

“This is not just some kind of organic, grassroots effort. It's a much more … deliberative, pernicious effort by big business,” said Aaron Scherb, the senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, a national watchdog group.

Voting & Elections 03.25.2024

Georgia Public Broadcasting/Georgia Recorder: Georgia lawmakers could still tinker with election rules in waning days of 2024 legislative session

Anne Gray Herring, a policy analyst for Common Cause Georgia, said requiring eligible voters to go through this burden of proving their residency is not a trivial thing. “I do appreciate that the bill attempts to clarify what is probable because that was something that is needed through this new mass challenge landscape,” she said.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Money, legal threats, power: A lawmaker-led firm’s ascent

Donations such as those from Talitrix and others with ties to the company are a relatively common practice for those who seek to influence public officials, but it’s concerning, said Aunna Dennis, executive director of the Georgia chapter of Common Cause, a government and ethics watchdog group. The current limit for county politicians is $3,300 for primary and general elections. Donating through related entities and family members helps skirt Georgia’s limits on individual giving, Dennis said. “It may not be illegal in Georgia, but it’s inappropriate,” Dennis said.

Orlando Sentinel: Florida ethics overhaul will leave corruption unchecked, watchdog groups warn

Common Cause Florida and eight other advocacy groups are urging DeSantis to veto the bill, which they say would erect an “unreasonable barrier” and deter people from filing ethics complaints against politicians and public officials. For instance, complaints could not be filed based solely on investigative news articles. “This isn’t about minimizing frivolous complaints; this is about making complaints almost impossible,” Amy Keith, executive director of Common Cause Florida, said in a prepared statement. “The people of Florida deserve accountability and transparency and the right to demand it of officials.”

Voting & Elections 03.18.2024

NBC News: Wisconsin is lagging behind other swing states in shoring up election policies following 2020 chaos

Jay Heck, the executive director Common Cause Wisconsin, the state’s branch of the national nonpartisan government watchdog group, added that the consequences could be dire if the right mix of circumstances were to emerge on or following Election Day. “It could all explode,” he said. The April 2 primary ballot in Wisconsin will ask voters to decide on two proposed constitutional amendments that critics contend are byproducts of conspiracy theories touted by election deniers. “[Passage of these amendments] is likely to leave election clerks all over the state of Wisconsin without the resources to run elections smoothly,” Heck said.

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