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Money & Influence 05.29.2021

Los Angeles Times (Op-Ed): Did Stormy Daniels’ $130,000 break campaign finance laws? The FEC is too dysfunctional to decide

The For the People Act would break the gridlock by reducing the number of commissioners from an even six to five, with checks and balances in place to ensure that no more than two commissioners are from the same political party. These safeguards against ties would align the commission with almost all other agencies charged with administering the law.

Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times: Legislating in the time of COVID-19 means putting protections over public access

“The relationship between elected officials and constituents is intended to be a dialogue and not a one way street,’’ said Common Cause Florida Executive Director Anjenys Gonzalez-Eilert at a news conference last week.

Voting & Elections 02.9.2021

The Guardian: 'Jim Crow relic': Senate filibuster stands in way of Democratic voting rights push

“It’s supremely ironic that something that gives rural, sparsely populated states so much power already would further kind of entrench minority rule and further make it difficult to access the ballot box,” said Stephen Spaulding, senior counsel for public policy and government affairs at Common Cause, a government watchdog group. Keeping the filibuster in place and not passing sweeping voting reforms would have “profound downstream effects”, Spaulding added. “The American people chose new leaders; they want a responsive government,” he said. “To have essentially a minority of senators exercising veto power over the entire legislative process is just not gonna be tenable.”

The Guardian: Biden promised bold action. Will his efforts to compromise get in the way?

“We have a roadmap as to how [McConnell] has operated in the past, which is to be a one-man blockade,” said Stephen Spaulding, a senior counsel at Common Cause, a liberal government reform group. “He will abuse the filibuster rule to demand supermajority votes on nearly every piece of the majority’s agenda. I think we can anticipate that.”

Richmond Times-Dispatch/InsideSources.com (Op-Ed): Is President Trump solely to blame for the lack of civility in politics?

However, this offensive language and loss of civility in politics goes far beyond Trump. The increased lack of civility in politics and public discourse seems to be more of a symptom of a broken system than a cause. Endless money in politics, hyperpartisan gerrymandering and social media without accountability are largely responsible for the decreasing civility we see today.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy (Op-Ed): Foundations, It’s Time to Give 1% of Your Assets to Fix Democracy

Time-tested grassroots organizations, such as Common Cause, dominate much of the space with expenses of less than $20 million each year. Common Cause, for instance, couples a D.C. strategy with chapters in 30 states and millions of grassroots members working to champion a panoply of efforts to strengthen democracy, involving voting, ethics, accountability, and other matters. Now imagine if their budgets were $100 million. Their membership could expand across all 50 states, and they could win policies that would reduce corruption that much faster. They could establish pipelines to pass institutional knowledge from one generation to the next. For the first time in years, these groups could stop worrying about whether each program they start will shutter one year later from lack of support.

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