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Newsweek: Mitch McConnell's 'Legislative Graveyard' Helping Current Congress to Be the Least Productive in History, Report Says

"The House of Representatives passed nearly 10 democracy reform bills, often with bipartisan support, this session, but Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked debate and markups on all of these bills and refused to allow a vote," Common Cause's director of legislative affairs, Aaron Scherb, said. The 2020 Democracy Scorecard, one of the group's initiatives, provides data on every current member of the House of Representatives and Senate, including their votes and co-sponsorships of democracy reform bills. Scherb told Newsweek that McConnell has been instrumental in blocking the current Congress from enacting laws. "There have been hundreds that have been passed by the House at this point. There have only been 158 enacted laws by this 116th Congress to this point. Yet there are hundreds of bills that have passed the House but continue to sit in Senate Majority Leader McConnell's desk, or his 'legislative graveyard' as it's been called," he said.

Money & Influence 07.21.2020

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Federal charges describe elaborate scheme, bankrolled by FirstEnergy, to corrupt Ohio politics and secure nuclear bailout

"It is a shocking day: The only thing that is clear to me is that pay-to-play is rampant in Ohio," said Catherine Turcer of the government watchdog group, Common Cause Ohio. "Utility money is the grease of the machine of the Statehouse."

Associated Press: Old tech has third of Kansas lawmakers’ disclosures offline

Beth Rotman, national director of the government watchdog group Common Cause’s ethics and money in politics project, said the forms should be disclosed in a way that average voters are able to see, and online data is quickly accessible and searchable. “The public should have timely access to complete, searchable statements of their lawmakers’ financial disclosure statements so the public can evaluate any potential conflicts or red flags in real time,” Rotman said. “In many cases, delayed disclosure will equate to non-disclosure if the public lacks access to the information when they are evaluating whether their representatives appear to be acting in the best interest of their members — those every day Americans they represent — or their own pocket.”

Media & Democracy 06.24.2020

Salon: Trump's 2020 election app harvests intimate user data, including location: report

Yosef Getachew, Media & Democracy Program Director at Common Cause, expressed a similar sentiment.  We have a "glaring lack of privacy protections [in] this country," Getachew told Salon, pointing out that there is "no federal framework for privacy." Regarding the Trump app specifically, Getachew noted that it is "pretty invasive, and one of the things that we would like to see in a federal framework is some sort of data minimization policy, where your company or service provider is only required to collect data necessary to run the surface."

Money & Influence 05.20.2020

HuffPost: Digital Ad Makers Making Millions Off Of Trump’s Reelection Campaign

The Trump campaign is obfuscating its spending thanks to a loophole that the FEC has failed to close. Unlike payments to credit card companies, which must be itemized by individual vendor, payments to consultants who then outsource the work do not have to be broken out, said Paul Ryan, a campaign finance lawyer with Common Cause. “The lack of transparency to the public is a problem,” he said.

New York Times: Ann McBride Norton, First Woman to Run Common Cause, Dies at 75

When she retired from Common Cause in 1999, Archibald Cox, the Watergate prosecutor and longtime chairman of Common Cause, called her “a giant in the world of political reform,” a gifted organizer and an inspiring public speaker. “If I had her personality,” Mr. Cox said, “I would rule the world.”

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