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Legislative Ethics

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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 04.23.2024

“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 04.17.2024

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.

Ohio Capital Journal: DeWine says Randazzo’s ties to First Energy were well known, but the evidence of this is lacking

Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, said that it’s past time for DeWine, Husted and their staffs to be much more forthcoming about their involvement in the bailout and about what DeWine and Husted did to investigate whether any member of the administration acted improperly. “It makes sense to be as clear as possible about what actually happened,” she said. “And I don’t just want to hear from the governor. I want to hear from the lieutenant governor.”

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."

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