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Money & Influence 02.15.2020

New York Times: Bloomberg’s Billions: How the Candidate Built an Empire of Influence

“They aren’t going to criticize him in his 2020 run because they don’t want to jeopardize receiving financial support from him in the future,” said Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at the good-government group Common Cause.

Voting & Elections 02.14.2020

Just Security (Op-Ed): The Simple Lessons from a Complicated Iowa Caucus

The very high-profile failure of a new app that was supposed to help report Iowa Caucus results has generated some important lessons. Even though the New Hampshire primary was not plagued by the same kinds of gross technical failures, it would be a mistake to just quickly move on and forget the lessons of the first debacle. As the Nevada Caucus approaches, it’s clear some lessons have been learned, but not all.

Los Angeles Times: Four prosecutors quit Roger Stone case after Justice Department overturns sentencing proposal

“Presidents and attorneys general cannot put their thumbs on the scales of justice for any reason — including to aid friends and associates — or we cease to be a nation of laws,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization focused on preserving constitutional norms and safeguards.

Media & Democracy 02.11.2020

Multichannel News: T-Mobile-Sprint Decision Draws Crowd

“We are deeply disappointed in the Court’s decision to approve the T-Mobile-Sprint merger, which will have significant consequences for consumers and competition," said Michael Copps, special advisor to Common Cause and former Democratic FCC chairman. "All of the evidence in this proceeding shows that this merger is inherently illegal under antitrust law. Even evidence presented at the trial revealed the companies’ executives acknowledged prices for wireless service would rise if the merger was approved. The Court’s decision will reduce the wireless market from four to three national carriers, undoubtedly raising prices on wireless customers."

Money & Influence 02.6.2020

The Intercept: BLOOMBERG CAMPAIGN RAN ADS ASKING VOTERS HOW HE SHOULD SPEND HIS MONEY

“We are clearly dealing with a very wealthy individual who has the ability to build goodwill among the public, among specific political actors, in a way that will benefit his campaign,” said Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. “Where things could get tricky or legally problematic is if he starts, or is in fact, using his foundation to build support and goodwill for his campaign. Trump seemingly ran afoul of those laws, hopefully Bloomberg will avoid those violations.”The fact that he is able to appeal to potential voters by spending his vast personal wealth on issues they care about, Ryan said, is “another example” of how billionaires have an advantage in elections.

Money & Influence 02.6.2020

ABC News: Warren campaign official accuses Buttigieg campaign of skirting finance laws by tweeting ad strategy

Paul Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Washington-based watchdog group Common Cause, said if Halle's tweet was instead a private message to an outside group, and the outside group made an ad buy based on the information in the private message, then the Buttigieg campaign and the outside spender's activities would "arguably meet" the "material involvement" standard under the FEC's multi-part test.This would violate federal laws.But in this case, because Halle had tweeted the message publicly instead of sending it as a private message to a super PAC, it's not necessarily covered by the FEC rules."In other words, if a candidate does all of their coordinating with outside groups in public view, there’s no illegal coordination under this FEC regulation," Ryan said. "It’s a pretty big hole in the law."

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