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Gannett/Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Ron Johnson defends pass-through tax provision as Democrats accuse him of doing the bidding of his top donors

Jay Heck of Common Cause Wisconsin called the tax provision "one of the most glaring examples of quid-pro-quo pay-to-play politics I've ever seen." "The idea a U.S. Senator would stand in the way of a major initiative of his own party on a very specific provision of a complicated tax bill, and the fact it benefited two of his largest donors, I just think is pretty eye-opening," he said. "My goodness what a great investment for the Uihleins and Diane Hendricks."

News & Observer: Senators are helping pay Sen. Burr’s legal expenses. Here’s a closer look at the donors

“In my view, it’s the least troubling of the money,” said Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of policy and litigation at Common Cause. ‘I am far more concerned seeing people with business before Burr’s committees than I am seeing money from other members of Congress.” ... “There’s heightened concern of fundraising into a legal expense fund by a member of Congress not running for reelection,” Ryan said. “... The threat for corruption or, at a minimum, the appearance of corruption is greater when it comes to $10,000 contributions for a legal expenses fund for an individual who is leaving office in 18 months.”

Philadelphia Inquirer: First it was ‘fraud,’ then they just didn’t like the rules: How Pa. Republicans justified trying to overturn an election

“Part of democracy is being willing to accept the results of a legitimate election, even when it doesn’t favor you. We’ve just lost sight of that,” said Khalif Ali, executive director of Common Cause Pennsylvania, a nonpartisan advocacy group that supports voting rights. “Now what we’re hearing is this rhetoric that is leading people to believe democracy doesn’t work if it doesn’t get me my outcome. ....That rhetoric is absolutely decimating confidence in our democracy.”

New York Times: Will Congress pass ethics changes swiftly after Trump leaves office?

Actually, the I.G. protection component of the reform package has received early action in the House, according to Aaron Scherb of Common Cause, one of the watchdog groups pushing for these changes. On Jan. 5, the eve of the Capitol riot, the bipartisan Inspector General Protection Act — introduced by Representatives Ted Lieu, Democrat of California, and Jody Hice, Republican of Georgia — passed the House by voice vote. The act would help protect inspectors general from retaliation, for example by requiring the executive branch to notify Congress before placing an I.G. on administrative leave. And it would help ensure that vacant I.G. slots are filled promptly by requiring the executive to provide Congress an explanation for failing to nominate an I.G. after an extended vacancy.

Voting & Elections 01.6.2021

NPR's Your Call (AUDIO): Organizers Celebrate In GA & Republicans Refusing To Certify The Election Sets Dangerous Precedent

On this edition of Your Call, we'll discuss the state of the Georgia Senate runoff elections. The AP has now called the win for Democrat Raphael Warnock, who will be the first Black senator in Georgia's history. If Jon Ossoff wins, Democrats will have complete control of Congress. Later in the show, we'll discuss how dozens of Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to challenge President-elect Joe Biden’s victory as Congress certifies the electoral college vote count. They are repeating dangerous conspiracy theories about widespread fraud and a stolen election. Civil rights lawyers and citizen activists say the damage they are doing should not be underestimated. What precedent is being set? Guests: Anoa Changa, Atlanta-based freelance journalist covering electoral justice & Sylvia Albert, director of Voting and Elections at Common Cause

Voting & Elections 12.30.2020

Star-Ledger: Second stimulus check update: Here’s McConnell’s price for approving your $2,000 payment

“You’ve got election officials all over the country and national security officials saying that it was a clean election and the effort to have an unnecessary investigation is just one to kowtow to the base and the president,” said David Vance, a spokesman for the watchdog group Common Cause.

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