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Boston Globe: Public records undergird R.I.’s biggest news stories

“There’s extreme public interest on what happened on that trip,” Common Cause Rhode Island Executive Director John M. Marion said, noting that one of the former state officials, David Patten, was recently fined $5,000 by the state Ethics Commission for accepting a free lunch at an upscale Sicilian restaurant during that trip. ”So great example of sort of how public records get us information that holds government officials accountable.”

Money & Influence 04.11.2024

Oregon Capital Insider: Oregon lawmakers pass first campaign finance limits in 50 years

Kate Titus, executive director of Common Cause Oregon, said she never bought into the assumption that legislators could do nothing about regulating campaign finances. “The question is not whether we can do anything to restrict the influence of big money. It is: Will we? I think what we have finally seen this legislative session is that we will,” Titus said. “What we passed here is not everything we need. There is still work to be done. But it is a big leap forward for Oregon.”

Voting & Elections 04.10.2024

Yahoo! News/Texas Tribune: Most 18-year-old Texans aren’t signed up to vote despite a law requiring voter registration in high schools

Katya Ehresman, voting rights program manager at Common Cause Texas, noted that some states reward schools that register students. Tennessee acknowledges schools that reach a certain voter registration threshold, and Pennsylvania has a governor’s civic engagement award to celebrate schools that register 85% of eligible students to vote, for example. Common Cause also recommends that the secretary of state’s office mail each school voter registration applications, instead of requiring schools to request them twice a year.

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."

Washington Times: Defendants not named ‘Trump’ usually go to trial years after indictment

Meanwhile, the fair election advocacy group Common Cause filed a brief supporting Mr. Smith at the Supreme Court in the D.C. case over Mr. Trump's claim of absolute immunity, saying the justices must decide the issue swiftly so the trial can take place before the November election and, ironically, so politics don't appear to be at play. "The American people deserve a trial and a verdict on these serious charges before they go to the polls in November," said Virginia Kase Solomón, president of Common Cause. "The presumptive Republican presidential nominee stands criminally charged with conspiracy and obstruction stemming from his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. It is critically important that the Supreme Court rule quickly, as it has in past presidential cases, so that justice can be rendered before Americans cast their ballots."

Voting & Elections 04.5.2024

PolitiFact: FALSE: Texas found that 95,000 noncitizens were registered to vote.

"For those of us who’ve worked in Texas politics for years, it was a huge deal because you almost never see a gubernatorial appointee fail to get confirmed by the state senate," Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, a voting advocacy group, told PolitiFact. "It goes to show just how wildly false their claim of 95,000 non-citizens being on the voter rolls was that it resulted in the Republican-dominated Texas Legislature refusing to confirm the nomination of the Republican governor."

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