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Voting & Elections 07.30.2021

Associated Press: Experts raise alarms over fundraising for GOP ballot reviews

“You are not giving them a real audit at the end of the day,” Susannah Goodman, an election security expert with Common Cause, said of the GOP reviews in Arizona and elsewhere. “It’s like going to a snake oil medicine doctor and paying him a lot of money and he gives you a bottle of green goop saying this will cure your cancer.”

Voting & Elections 07.29.2021

Bloomberg: New York Counts More Votes as Mail-in Mistake Laws Change

It’s not “particularly sexy,” Sylvia Albert, director of Voting and Elections for Common Cause, said of ballot curing. But when you add it to other legislative changes, “we provide access across the board and give people options,” Albert said.

Money & Influence 07.28.2021

Daily Beast: The RNC Is Ramping Up Its ‘Predatory’ Fundraising Machine

These new RNC tactics echo charges in a recent federal conviction of a scam PAC operator, according to Paul Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a campaign finance reform advocacy group. “The Justice Department noted in the charging document that the lies in the PAC’s fundraising emails constituted ‘material misrepresentations’ that misled potential donors,” Ryan told The Daily Beast. “The RNC is on notice that telling lies in fundraising emails can expose them to criminal prosecution for fraud.”

Media & Democracy 07.26.2021

Broadcasting & Cable: Trump Accused of Using PAC To Evade Facebook Ban

Common Cause, joined by almost two dozen more groups, have called on Facebook to prevent political action committees (PACS) affiliated with suspended accounts--the target is former President Trump--to violate the site's community standards. "If Facebook’s content moderation policies for public figures are to have any legitimacy, they must not be so easily circumvented. We urge Facebook to close this loophole and align its content moderation policies with campaign finance law to prevent politicians from using political committees under their control to evade enforcement actions," said Yosef Getachew, Common Cause media and democracy program director.

Media & Democracy 07.25.2021

Wall Street Journal: Broadband Internet Bill Too High? Here’s How You Can Fix That

“The ability for consumers to actually get lower prices or take action is somewhat limited at the moment,” said Yosef Getachew, media and democracy director at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. One effective solution, he says, is municipal networks—publicly owned fiber-optic networks deployed by local governments—such as the one Mx. Cadena is awaiting. “Service providers aren’t investing in areas that aren’t profitable to them. And there are cases where muni networks come in, and then the incumbent lowers their prices,” said Mr. Getachew. However, 20 states restrict or prohibit these networks, on the grounds that government-run broadband discourages private investment.

Money & Influence 07.24.2021

Texas Tribune/Salon: Greg Abbott promised “transparency" for border wall funding — but donors clearly using fake names

"It makes sense, certainly, that you have an executive saying that we are going to disclose where the funds are coming from," Rotman said. "But if that's not meaningful disclosure ... when it's just a pledge, then it's not really worth the paper that it's written on." Rotman said Abbott could start by adding language to the website asking donors to certify that they use their legal name. His office could also list donor names on the website contemporaneously for the public — as opposed to only providing them in response to open records requests — and add software that would prevent donors from listing incomplete names. "If you think it's important, then you have to say I'm not going to let somebody write down Donnie Darko and give me the cash," she said. "There are a lot of well-developed states and a lot of well-developed models. It's very possible for Texas to do this in a way that Texans will have disclosure in the way that the governor has promised."

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