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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 10.3.2021

Inside Sources/Tribune News Service (Op-Ed): 2020 Election Audits: Bad for Public Trust, Good for Fundraisers

Those who are manufacturing doubts about our election results have a strong profit motive: they need to keep the doubts alive to keep the dollars flowing.  But the rest of us can stop falling for their scam, and stop subsidizing these unfounded attacks on America’s elections.

Austin American-Statesman (Op-Ed): Fair redistricting can help keep lawmakers accountable to the people

This is our year to flip the script and make sure we the people drive this process, not the politicians. That’s why it’s critical that we the people have a say in how our maps are drawn. When the people are prioritized in our democracy, we will have certainty that maps are drawn to benefit us, not the politicians. State legislators must give us ample opportunity to review the maps, weigh in with our own thoughts, and voice our feedback. State legislators should outline an accessible process for multiple statewide public hearings for as many Texans as possible to be heard.

Money & Influence 09.19.2021

Rolling Stone: The Secret Money Trail Behind Kevin McCarthy's MAGA Makeover

"The real problem here is unfortunately we don't have a good watchdog agency to ­enforce against these bad actors," says Beth Rotman of the clean-government group Common Cause. "Unfortunately, what that means is when groups like this look to see whether they can get away with crossing the line like this, often the answer is yes."

Associated Press: Coalition presses for transparency in state redistricting

“The Reapportionment Commission must take all necessary steps to make sure the new district maps are drawn in a fair and transparent process the public can easily understand,” John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, said in a statement.

Voting & Elections 08.24.2021

Roll Call: House passes voting rights bill as White House, Senate face pressure

Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs for Common Cause, which supports the voting rights and the campaign and elections overhaul bills, said his group was ramping up in support of both measures.  “We’re continuing to mobilize and energize our thousands of activists and volunteers to do whatever it takes to get the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act this fall,” he said.

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