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Money & Influence 04.23.2024

“Democracy Scorecard” Tracks Lawmaker Support for Pro-Democracy Bills in 118th Congress

With 2024 congressional races in full swing, Common Cause is again tracking the positions of every Member of Congress on issues vital to the health of our democracy. For the fifth cycle in a row, Members of the House and Senate have received letters from Common Cause asking them to co-sponsor and support up to ten democracy reform bills. The letters inform Members that their voting and co-sponsorship record will be published in Common Cause’s “Democracy Scorecard,” which will be distributed to the organization’s 1.5 million members, as well as to state and national media, during the lead-up to Election Day.

Money & Influence 04.11.2024

Oregon Capital Insider: Oregon lawmakers pass first campaign finance limits in 50 years

Kate Titus, executive director of Common Cause Oregon, said she never bought into the assumption that legislators could do nothing about regulating campaign finances. “The question is not whether we can do anything to restrict the influence of big money. It is: Will we? I think what we have finally seen this legislative session is that we will,” Titus said. “What we passed here is not everything we need. There is still work to be done. But it is a big leap forward for Oregon.”

Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer: FirstEnergy made secret $1 million payment for ‘Husted campaign’ in 2017, documents show

Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, said the records showing the payment is another example of why Ohio needs greater transparency in political spending. We're still learning about public officials proximity to a bribery scandal after years of a swarm of criminal, civil, and regulatory investigations, she said. The complicated picture is a feature and not a bug, she said. The system is built to hide malfeasance. "What we do know from this is the governor and lieutenant governor are very comfortable in a dark money system and figured out how to maximize the loophole in transparency to benefit themselves, their friends, and their family," she said. "The governor and lieutenant governor have figured out a way to make dark money work for them."

Washington Times: Defendants not named ‘Trump’ usually go to trial years after indictment

Meanwhile, the fair election advocacy group Common Cause filed a brief supporting Mr. Smith at the Supreme Court in the D.C. case over Mr. Trump's claim of absolute immunity, saying the justices must decide the issue swiftly so the trial can take place before the November election and, ironically, so politics don't appear to be at play. "The American people deserve a trial and a verdict on these serious charges before they go to the polls in November," said Virginia Kase Solomón, president of Common Cause. "The presumptive Republican presidential nominee stands criminally charged with conspiracy and obstruction stemming from his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It is critically important that the Supreme Court rule quickly, as it has in past presidential cases, so that justice can be rendered before Americans cast their ballots."

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.

Money & Influence 03.5.2024

Oregon Capital Chronicle: House leaders make last-ditch effort on campaign finance reform

Kate Titus, executive director of Common Cause Oregon, called the amendment “a testament to the hubris of the political donor class” in written testimony. The nonprofit, nonpartisan Common Cause supports IP 9, the stricter measure backed by Honest Elections Oregon. “Oregon voters will have no trouble seeing through this,” Titus wrote.

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