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Executive Ethics

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Los Angeles Times: Ethics reform measure will go to L.A. voters. Critics say it’s watered down

California Common Cause, a good-government group, called the measure “disheartening.” “The Los Angeles City Council had a chance to turn the tide of corruption at City Hall and begin a new era in which L.A. residents could trust their local elected officials,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, the group’s executive director. “Instead they chose to uphold a broken, shameful status quo.”

Money & Influence 05.1.2024

CAL Matters/Mercury News: California passed a law to stop ‘pay to play’ in local politics. After two years, legislators want to gut it

California Common Cause and California Clean Money Campaign — the main supporters of the 2022 law — argued the bill would favor certain industries, reduce transparency and allow local elected officials to accept large donations outside the 18-month period the bill proposed. “For many lengthy projects that take longer than nine months, these changes would allow for large contributions to be made while a matter is pending” as long as the check is written outside the window, said Pedro Hernandez, legal and policy director of California Common Cause. Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of the group, called the bill’s advancement a “​special interest triumph.” “Our democracy is in dire trouble at the national level. The least we can offer Californians is high-integrity, trustworthy governance here at home,” he said in a statement.

Money & Influence 04.30.2024

Yahoo! News/ The Guardian: Revealed: Tyson Foods dumps millions of pounds of toxic pollutants into US rivers and lakes

Big ag’s influence on state politics is “endemic”, according to Gavin Geis from Common Cause Nebraska, a non-partisan elections watchdog. “The big money spent on lobbying and campaigns by corporate agriculture has played a major role in resisting stronger regulation – despite clear signals such as high levels of nitrates in our groundwater and cancers in rural communities that we need more oversight for farmers across the board,” said Geis.

Orlando Sentinel: Judges urged to reconsider Florida federal redistricting case

Attorneys for groups such as Common Cause Florida and the Florida NAACP and other plaintiffs filed a motion Wednesday urging a three-judge panel to look again at whether the redistricting plan was passed in 2022 with a racially discriminatory motive. Wednesday’s motion for reconsideration said the judges incorrectly found that DeSantis’ intent “was all but irrelevant.” The lawsuit alleged that the map involved intentional discrimination and violated the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment and 15th Amendment. The 14th Amendment ensures equal protection, while the 15th Amendment prohibits denying or abridging the right to vote based on race. “First, the court erred by treating the governor as an outsider to the legislative process,” Wednesday’s motion said. “Unlike private citizens advocating for legislative action, the governor is himself a state actor directly subject to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. He may not discriminate on the basis of race when using state authority, any more than the Legislature can. No case law supports the notion that, where multiple state actors act jointly to bring about the challenged conduct, all of them must be driven by illegal consideration of race.”

Money & Influence 04.24.2024

Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer (Op-Ed): For the sake of our state, it’s time to pull out HB 6, root and branch

For the past four years, a heavy cloud has hung over Ohio and our state legislature in the form of House Bill 6 and disgraced former Speaker Larry Householder. The HB 6 scheme has been a textbook example of corruption, embarrassing Ohioans with endless indictments, guilty verdicts and negative news stories. Now, four years later, it still dominates headlines, with the recent revelation of payments to conservative groups to support Gov. Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. John Husted, and Senate President Matt Huffman.

Money & Influence 04.17.2024

New York Times: Inside the Late-Night Parties Where Hawaii Politicians Raked In Money

“Pay-to-play is woven into the DNA of the statehood of Hawaii,” said Camron Hurt, director of Common Cause Hawaii, a watchdog group. He pointed to the 1893 overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom that led to an “oligarchy” of businessmen, sugar barons and large landowners lasting decades. The industries involved had close ties to the ruling political parties well into the 1960s and 1970s, when Hawaii’s campaign finance regulations were written.

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