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Money & Influence 12.31.2023

Honolulu Civil Beat: Dark Clouds And A Little Sunshine: Here’s The Forecast For Legislative Reform in ’24

“We’re going guns blazing for (public) campaign financing,” said Camron Hurt, program director for Common Cause Hawaii, calling it the organization’s top legislative priority. Common Cause won’t be alone. The State Campaign Spending Commission also plans to seek expansion of public financing of campaigns.

Yahoo! News/The Hill: Lobbying World

Virginia Kase Solomón will be the next president and CEO of Common Cause. Currently CEO of the League of Women Voters, she will start her new role in February and will be the first Hispanic person to lead the democratic watchdog. She succeeds Karen Hobert Flynn, who died this spring after three decades with the organization.

MSN/Public News Service: Progressives call push to change Constitution 'risky'

Jonathan Mehta Stein, executive director of California Common Cause, said the risk of a runaway convention is too great, because there are very few rules in place. "We would have no idea who's seeking to influence the members of the constitutional Convention," Stein pointed out. "What lobbying would be happening behind the scenes? Would there be public-records requirements? Would there be transparency requirements? We just have no idea."

Money & Influence 08.21.2023

The Oregonian: Oregon labor group launches end run around effort to curb political donations, shed light on dark money

Kate Titus, executive director of good government group Common Cause Oregon, said that Our Oregon’s initiatives are “clearly an effort to try to derail (the proposal for stricter limits) and offer a different alternative.” “I’m pleased that there’s a proactive movement toward campaign finance reform and more players are looking for ways to do this,” said Titus, who gave input on the development of the reform advocates’ proposal but whose organization has yet to endorse any measure for 2024. “Unfortunately, some of the changes that they’ve made … do appear on the surface to be highly problematic.” Titus, with Common Cause, said she looks forward to voters weighing in. “The thing to remember is a loophole for one is a loophole for all,” said Titus. “Letting money rule the day is never going to get us to the type of governing we need, and we should all have a stake in that.”

Boston Globe: Rejection of Ohio ballot measure signals democracy remains powerful motivator for voters

“Clearly, direct democracy was being attacked, because the ability to gather folks together and collect signatures and take issues directly to the ballot was really in jeopardy,” said Catherine Turcer, the executive director of Common Cause Ohio. “We would have been left with a right that couldn’t really have been used.”

Indiana Capital Chronicle: A little-known nonprofit boosts Indiana’s economic development agency

“This is an area where a lot of money is involved. The state is offering big incentives involving our tax dollars to corporations, and Hoosiers deserve to know the backstory,” said Julia Vaughn, who leads government watchdog Common Cause Indiana. “But I think the IEDC and its foundation: their structure often stops that from happening.” Vaughn said her organization expressed transparency-related concerns when the state swapped its commerce department for the corporation-foundation combination. “I’m afraid our worst fears have come true,” she concluded. “… It’s simply another way for these corporate interests to flex their muscle, and in a way that happens completely in the dark.”

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