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Money & Influence 05.11.2023

Common Cause Testimony for House Hearing on  Political Speech

Today at 9:30 a.m., the Committee on House Administration will hold a hearing on “American Confidence in Elections: Protecting Political Speech.” Stephen Spaulding, Common Cause Vice President for Policy & External Affairs, will be testifying. His testimony submitted in advance of the hearing discusses the myriad threats that undermine public confidence in our democracy and offered several solutions as well. He includes voter suppression and gerrymandering as hugely detrimental to public confidence and focuses his testimony on the corrosive influence of money in politics.

Money & Influence 04.17.2023

Raw Story: Revealed: Nearly $500 million continues to sit in a bloated, unused government fund

Nonprofit government reform group Common Cause supports citizen-funded elections, too, including campaign funding vouchers. Common Cause said it would prefer to see the current presidential public financing system modernized rather than see the fund emptied. “The disclosure laws and regulations have not kept pace at all with outside spending,” said Stephen Spaulding, vice president of policy and external affairs at Common Cause. “A significant percentage of money comes through ‘dark money’ groups that don't have to disclose where the money is coming from, and so voters are left in the dark, and this sort of secret spending is really dangerous for democracy because it means that you're no longer able to follow the money.”

Money & Influence 04.2.2023

Honolulu Star-Advertiser (Op-Ed): Support public financing for elections

Senate Bill 1543 is the most significant public financing bill currently being considered throughout the nation. There are only a few days left in the legislative session for it to be scheduled for a hearing in the House Finance Committee. If that does not happen this very important bill dies. And that would be a serious blow to efforts to get big money out of politics.

Money & Influence 04.1.2023

New York Post: Gov. Kathy Hochul slammed for fundraising pitch amid tense budget talks

“Governor Hochul — and all lawmakers — should be focused on passing the state budget as soon as possible, not fundraising,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of NY Common Cause. Lerner noted that part of the budget would help fund a new public campaign finance program aimed at reducing the role of fat cat donors in elections. Candidates who accept lower dollar donations would get public matching funds. “If we had a successful and robust public financing program, lawmakers would be concentrated on passing an on-time budget, and not asking wealthy donors to fund their campaigns,” Lerner said.

Money & Influence 03.3.2023

CT Mirror: Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause leader and CT reformer, dies

“Karen made a lasting impact on Connecticut politics as one of the architects of our nationally renowned public financing system, which has been mirrored by states around the country as a model for clean and fair government that encourages participation by all of our residents,” Gov. Ned Lamont said.

Voting & Elections 09.6.2022

Insider: Out of 18 pro-democracy bills in 2022, the US Senate filibuster torpedoed 17 of them: report

Common Cause also ranked individual members of Congress on their pro-democracy efforts, with 101 members — all Democrats — earning a perfect score. That's a more than 70% increase over the number of members of Congress who had perfect scores (58) in the 2020 Democracy Scorecard. Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn cited the legislative filibuster as the roadblock to pro-democracy reform.  "In the end, with high levels of support in Congress and an overwhelming outpouring of public support, Congress ran into one of the reasons our democracy needs to be modernized: the filibuster," she wrote in the report.

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