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Money & Influence 01.22.2021

Statesman Journal (Op-Ed): A bill of, by and 'For the People'

Now is the time for political leadership. In the wake of the Jan. 6 armed insurrection attempt to overturn our 2020 presidential election, we should expect our elected leaders to strongly confront the lies, conspiracy theories and white nationalism that have polarized this nation. But it will take more than that. Our democracy was, and continues to be, under attack, and we must immediately fix it. The U.S. House of Representatives will soon be voting on H.R. 1, the For the People Act, the most transformative democracy reform package since the Watergate era. This comprehensive set of democratic reforms and anti-corruption measures will protect and expand the right to vote, reduce the role of big money in politics, end racial and partisan gerrymandering and amplify the voices of hard-working Americans.

Money & Influence 01.21.2021

Los Angeles Times: After Capitol assault, corporate America rethinks its role in politics

“These recent moves by corporate America to distance themselves from President Trump are a good thing, but also a predictable PR move,” said Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, a watchdog group focusing on money in politics. “Their commitment to this will really be shown in coming months and years,” he said, “whether or not they return to funding not only Donald Trump, but also those who enabled Donald Trump to do what he’s done.”

Money & Influence 01.19.2021

The Independent: UnTrump America: The fastest things Biden can do to rid the country of the former president

Other democracy advocates are focused on efforts to take money out of the electoral process. Beh A Rotman, director of money in politics and ethics at Common Cause, has argued for publicly funded political campaigns to level the playing field between ordinary citizens and wealthy interests. “Citizen-funded election programs step in to create space for policies that favour large swaths of everyday Americans. Particularly when combined with restrictions on lobbyist and government contractor contributions, these reforms represent the best way to prevent government capture by the wealthy,” she told The Independent. “In states and cities with these programs, ordinary citizens are more empowered to participate in democracy and better represented by those elected to office. Races are much more competitive, and the legislature is more representative of the state; local small donors matter. “Citizen-funded elections are the best instrument we have to combat the problem of money in politics. The future of our democracy may depend on it,” she added.

Center for Public Integrity: DEMOCRATS PUSH WIDE-RANGING VOTING, ETHICS REFORMS IN CHARGED MOMENT FOR DEMOCRACY

“While neither party will have 60 seats in the Senate any time soon, there are a number of options being considered to get his bill across the finish line,” said Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs for the watchdog nonprofit group Common Cause, which supports the bill.

Money & Influence 01.11.2021

CNN: The House can impeach Donald Trump, but it can't stop him from fundraising in the future

Disqualification "has no bearing on the political committee money he already has raised, and it would have no bearing on his ability to continue to raise money into a political committee," said Paul S. Ryan, a top lawyer with the watchdog group Common Cause. Although Twitter's decision Friday night to permanently ban Trump from its platform immediately cut the President off from his 88.7 million followers, Trump and his campaign committee still have "an enormously valuable asset in their email list," Ryan said.

Money & Influence 12.29.2020

MSNBC Rachel Maddow Show: Trump's fundraising efforts take a sketchy turn with bogus claim

Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause, came to the same conclusion, telling me, "Federal campaign finance law has only minimal 'truth in advertising' requirements." But Ryan added that the Justice Department "has in recent years begun prosecuting so-called 'scam PACs' for violations of criminal wire- and mail-fraud statutes based on representations made in political fundraising solicitations.... It's certainly possible that the DOJ could investigate President Trump for fraudulent political fundraising in the new year."

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