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Money & Influence 03.7.2023

Wall Street Journal: Supreme Court’s ‘Dark Money’ Rulings Anchor Defense in Ohio Political Corruption Trial

“This trial is not just about what the former speaker of the House did, it’s also about the terrible system we have,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, which advocates for more transparency in government.

Media & Democracy 02.19.2023

Salon: Joe Biden's agenda faces an unprecedented onslaught of dark money: The FCC is just the start

"It's clear the industry sees no problems with the status quo," said Getachew. "In a Senate where the Democratic majority is not high, they only need a couple of Democrats to tilt the balance in their favor." Lobbying campaigns against Sohn, Getachew noted, have included those from the Fraternal Order of Police, which has opposed Sohn on the grounds that she personally supports end-to-end encrypted messaging (over which the FCC has no jurisdiction). The FOP argues it can delay police efforts to access cell phone records. Everyone involved understands that "law enforcement access issues are not in the purview of the FCC," said Getachew. The FOP's opposition to Sohn, he suggested, is "driven by a larger industry."

Plain Dealer/Cleveland.com: Corporate jets, bribes and dark money: Householder trial spotlights weaknesses in Ohio ethics laws

Catherine Turcer, executive director of the good-government group Common Cause Ohio, said it’s “astonishing” that lawmakers have yet to take up any reforms in response to the Householder scandal. “It’s clear to me that the people in power like the structure that we have right now, and that they’re benefitting from the lack of transparency,” Turcer said. ... Turcer said there’s a public interest in limiting lawmakers’ and other politicians’ ability to accept trips on private jets. “Any time our lawmakers are given perks from folks who want something, it’s a problem if our goal is reducing quid pro quo,” Turcer said. ... Turcer, the good-government advocate, said a lack of transparency in political spending is the core issue behind the abuses revealed by the House Bill 6 scandal. She said campaign-finance laws won’t prevent future scandals. But they could discourage them, she said. “I look at them like guardrails,” Turcer said. “If we have a speed limit that’s 55, 65, 70. You have people who might go 72. They might even go 80. But they aren’t going 120.”

Money & Influence 05.24.2022

Los Angeles Times: Garcetti’s India nomination has stalled. So his parents hired lobbyists to help him

Many Washington, D.C., lobbying firms have a minimum monthly retainer of $10,000 or $15,000, but some firms charge $50,000 a month, or occasionally more, said Beth Rotman, director of money in politics and ethics at Common Cause, a good-government organization. She likened Garcetti’s parents to a couple that shells out to get their child into a top school. “It’s a bit like when the parents hire the most expensive coach they can find to get them into the most expensive university,” Rotman said. ... “Lobbyists know how to move the wheels,” said Common Cause’s Rotman. Lobbyists have relationships with specific lawmakers and may represent multiple interests or help raise funds for the lawmaker, making sure that their clients donate, she said.

Voting & Elections 05.4.2022

Washingtonian: Washington DC’s 500 Most Influential People

Aaron Scherb Common Cause Director, Legislative Affairs: Scherb co-led an umbrella advocacy group made up of 240 organizations to push for passage of the For the People Act, a comprehensive voting-rights package that Republicans opposed.

Media & Democracy 04.11.2022

Grid: How Big Tech is quietly pushing for watered-down state privacy laws

“I can generally say that there’s certainly the potential for influence from industry giving money to legislators,” said Yosef Getachew, director of the Media and Democracy Program at Common Cause. ... Getachew noted that the implications of privacy laws extend well past traditional technology companies. “A lot of the telecom companies have engaged in certain data practices that implicate them and privacy bills, and a lot of telecom companies are working businesses outside of the traditional telecom model,” said Getachew. “So for example, take Comcast — they provide a cable service, broadband service and mobile service. They are potentially using all those data points interchangeably to build profiles and learn more about the customer base.”

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