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Money & Influence 08.10.2022

The Oregonian (Op-Ed): The leadership that money can’t buy

Our communities face urgent issues. Across Oregon, we struggle with the disparate impacts of an ongoing pandemic, wildfire displacement, economic hardship, racism and more. We desperately need elected leaders who understand these struggles firsthand – those who come from impacted communities themselves and who share our lived experiences. But who can afford to run for office? And if elected, who can afford to serve in office?

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Posh southwestern Pa. party spotlights how lawmakers and lobbyists mingle out of the public eye

“There’s so little trust that there has to be an environment of complete and utter transparency,” said Khalif Ali, executive director of Common Cause PA, a nonprofit government watchdog group.   “What we’re seeing with these situations — because of the campaign finance laws, donor disclosure, the wide-open structure of lobbying disclosure — there are a number of ways to circumvent the laws,” Mr. Ali said.

Insider: Trump-endorsed J.R. Majewski, an Ohio Republican running in one of the nation’s hottest congressional races, is violating federal law by not disclosing his personal finances

Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization, said all congressional candidates should follow the law about personal financial disclosures — especially in a race as close as the one for Ohio's 9th Congressional District. "It allows voters to consider the statements the candidates make, it allows voters to consider any conflicts of interest," Turcer said. "Transparency allows voters to be educated … and to know what each of the candidates are all about and how responsible they are."

Money & Influence 08.4.2022

Daily Beast: How a Trumpy Billionaire Is Single-Handedly Reshaping Campaigns

“There’s definitely disproportionate involvement of single-candidate super PACs this cycle,” Aaron Scherb of government watchdog Common Cause observed. “These groups tend to have a small number of donors, and they often silence and drown out the voices of small donors and everyday voters.” “Often these donors want something in return,” he said. ... “There’s definitely more danger of a quid pro quo with these groups,” Scherb said. “At the very least it creates the perception of corruption, which in many ways can be just as damaging.”

Voting & Elections 08.1.2022

PolitiFact/Poynter: How will social media platforms respond to election misinformation? It isn’t clear

This decision may have consequences for voters in 2022, said Yosef Getachew, media and democracy program director at Common Cause, a Washington, D.C.-based public interest group. (Common Cause supports PolitiFact's Spanish fact-checking in 2022.) Many people still believe the 2020 election was stolen, and candidates have been sharing that message. "By not combating this, they're helping fuel the narrative that this big lie was accurate, when it's not," said Getachew. Emma Steiner, a disinformation researcher at Common Cause, said she still sees unmarked tweets falsely claiming that mail ballot drop boxes aren’t safe. (Drop boxes are secure boxes, often placed outside polling sites or government buildings, into which voters can drop completed ballots received by mail. The boxes often have more security features than standard mailboxes and have been used in some jurisdictions for decades).  Platforms don’t share data proactively, Steiner said, so it’s hard to gauge exactly how many posts with election-related falsehoods get sent around. It took PolitiFact about 30 seconds in the Twitter search tool — trying terms like "ballot mules" and "dead voters" — to find multiple false claims about elections.

Media & Democracy 07.20.2022

Newsy (VIDEO): Experts: Social Platforms Are Unprepared For Election Misinformation

Yosef Getachew, media and democracy program director at Common Cause, helped author a letter from more than 120 civil society groups to seven major social media companies, noting that "disinformation related to the 2020 election has not gone away but has continued to proliferate." The letter’s demands included consistent enforcement of civic integrity policies during both election and non-election cycles and the prioritization of enforcement around combatting what they call the big lie that says Trump won the 2020 election. "A lot of the disinformation that we're seeing now is really recycled content from the Big Lie, but it's packaged in new ways that is getting more and more attention," Getachew said. "When we're talking about the 2022 election cycle, we're seeing a lot of candidates now preemptively declare voter fraud, and this is based primarily off the Big Lie. A lot of candidates are using the Big Lie as a platform plank."

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