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The Hill: Redistricting commissions descend into political warfare

“There are obviously challenges with a hybrid commission, half politician half citizen. We knew going into this that this was an experiment. As we are learning through this process, we are learning that maybe this is not a format that works well,” said Suzanne Almeida, a redistricting expert at Common Cause who monitors Virginia’s process. “There is a lot more work to be done.”

Money & Influence 10.13.2021

Daily Beast: Time Is Running Out to Indict Trump for His Sex Hush Money Payment to Stormy Daniels

“It seems that if the Department of Justice were going to charge Trump, it would do so this month before the statute of limitations on the most significant charges related to the illegally large contribution runs,” said Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at the government watchdog group Common Cause. Ryan’s signature is on two complaints, one to the Federal Election Commission and another to the DOJ, that tried to hold Trump accountable for the hush money payment.

Voting & Elections 10.12.2021

Reuters: Republican candidate for Virginia governor walks fine line on election fraud

"He is clearly trying to have his cake and eat it too," said Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, a voting rights watchdog group.

Money & Influence 10.11.2021

Daily Beast: ‘Scam’ Political Groups Try New Tricks—and Rake In Millions

“For 20 years I’ve been looking at the issue through the other end of the telescope, at ‘dark money’ nonprofits trying to hide that they’re influencing politics,” Paul S. Ryan, general counsel for campaign finance watchdog Common Cause, said. “This is the opposite—these PACs appear to be trying to pass themselves off as nonprofits and trying to hide that by spending on the political end. It raises the same concern, though, because in both cases they mislead the government about the use of contributions. And that’s where these scam PACs may be running afoul of the law.” He pointed out that the sudden change in reporting suggests the groups are either mischaracterizing the nature of their spending now, or had been mischaracterizing it for years previously. “It’s illegal to mislead the government,” he said. “And donors should never be lied to.” Ryan also noted that “it also sounds like we very well could be talking about a federal wire fraud statute violation,” citing the fact that every one of the more than two dozen donors contacted by The Daily Beast over the course of the last year said they had been deceived.

Voting & Elections 10.8.2021

USA Today (Op-Ed): Whistleblower confirms what we knew: Facebook blowing it on political disinformation

Since the 2020 election season, the disinformation tracking network for Common Cause –  a grassroots group that promotes democracy – has noted and documented a dangerous trend as social media giants Facebook and Twitter appear to have dropped the ball on their commitments to police election disinformation. This week on Capitol Hill, former Facebook product manager and whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed the extent to which her former employer fails in its commitment to prevent the spread of disinformation about elections, confirming what we’ve been documenting.  Change is needed to protect the millions of voters who will go to the polls on Nov. 2 for gubernatorial elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Election disinformation is already creeping into these contests, just as it did in California, where it eventually grew to a flood when the recall voting began. Much of the "new" disinformation is recycled directly from the lies around the 2020 election. The lies spread by former President Donald Trump and his allies on some conservative media outlets about the 2020 elections are only growing in volume.

Voting & Elections 10.8.2021

BuzzFeed News: Republicans Are Laying The Groundwork For Endless Election “Audits” That Go Long Past Trump

Steph Gómez, the associate director of Common Cause Texas, said in an interview she thought the audits would only cause chaos and sow further distrust in elections. “I think the public will be confused. Like, you know, I'm confused and I do this every day,” she said. “Texans have actual issues that they need their state leadership to be focusing on,” she added. “Like, for example, the winter is coming, right, and like, I do not know for certain that I'm not going to be left to freeze in my home again.” During this week’s hearing on the bill, she told senators, “It's embarrassing that state leadership dropped everything to respond to a tweet from a staffer of a former president, neither of which are actual Texas residents.”

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