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Cleveland.com/The Plain Dealer: FirstEnergy made secret $1 million payment for ‘Husted campaign’ in 2017, documents show

Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, said the records showing the payment is another example of why Ohio needs greater transparency in political spending. We're still learning about public officials proximity to a bribery scandal after years of a swarm of criminal, civil, and regulatory investigations, she said. The complicated picture is a feature and not a bug, she said. The system is built to hide malfeasance. "What we do know from this is the governor and lieutenant governor are very comfortable in a dark money system and figured out how to maximize the loophole in transparency to benefit themselves, their friends, and their family," she said. "The governor and lieutenant governor have figured out a way to make dark money work for them."

Star Tribune/Yahoo! News: 'Book Senator Hoffman to speak': DFL state senator's consulting firm raises ethical questions

Annastacia Belladonna-Carrera, executive director of Common Cause Minnesota, a nonprofit that advocates for government transparency, also had concerns. She said, "Sen. Hoffman's use of this title for marketing his consulting business as 'senator', along with the use of pictures taken while at the Capitol campus, can arguably be seen as him leveraging his public role for private gain." Belladonna-Carrera suggested the legislative branch could benefit from having clearer rules for lawmakers. "This branch of government — I would argue the most public facing and accountable to the people particularly because of what it does and who it is supposed to be working for — is once again the one with the least accountability and transparency," she said.

04.2.2024

NBC News: Wisconsin voters approve two GOP-backed ballot measures that will change how elections are run

“In the April elections Wisconsin tends to have low turnout, and not many people are going to look at these [closely]. Maybe they’ll read it and think, ‘yeah, that sounds reasonable,’” Jay Heck, the executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, the state’s branch of the national nonpartisan government watchdog group, said ahead of the results. “But they are both the product of election denial.” Their impact could be notable, Heck suggested. With avenues for additional funding roped off, and with the scope of who can volunteer as poll workers narrowed, the possibility of additional conspiracy theories and chaos during and following another close race this fall — the state’s past two presidential elections were both decided by fewer than 23,000 votes — could be more likely. “Unless the Legislature fully funds election administration, which the Republican-controlled Legislature never has done and never will do, then this leaves election clerks all over the state of Wisconsin without the resources to run elections” well, he said.

Miami Herald/Orlando Sentinel (Editorial): Lawmakers make it easier for corruption to flourish

Common Cause Florida and eight other groups are urging DeSantis to veto the bill, calling the personal knowledge standard “an unreasonably high evidentiary hurdle that has never existed in the 50-year history of the Commission. Instead, complaints should continue to require the filer to certify that the information is true to the best of their knowledge, which already discourages false and frivolous complaints.”

Nebraska Examiner: ‘Partisan balance’ requirements on state commissions ignored, sidestepped

Gavin Geis of Common Cause Nebraska said it was disappointing and concerning that the partisan balance requirement had been ignored and sidestepped. “It’s put in there for a purpose, so we have some sort of diversity of opinion and perspective on questions of policy,” Geis said. “That diversity of thought leads to better outcomes.” “Not everyone has the opinion of a registered Republican,” he added. “It certainly should not to be skirted around.”

Money & Influence 03.26.2024

Cincinnati Enquirer/Louisville Courier Journal: How conservative Florida groups pushed controversial child labor, SNAP bills in Kentucky

“This is not just some kind of organic, grassroots effort. It's a much more … deliberative, pernicious effort by big business,” said Aaron Scherb, the senior director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, a national watchdog group.

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