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Money & Influence 10.13.2021

Daily Beast: Time Is Running Out to Indict Trump for His Sex Hush Money Payment to Stormy Daniels

“It seems that if the Department of Justice were going to charge Trump, it would do so this month before the statute of limitations on the most significant charges related to the illegally large contribution runs,” said Paul S. Ryan, vice president of policy and litigation at the government watchdog group Common Cause. Ryan’s signature is on two complaints, one to the Federal Election Commission and another to the DOJ, that tried to hold Trump accountable for the hush money payment.

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.

Voting & Elections 09.21.2021

New York Times: Progressives Worry Their Priorities Will Be Left Behind, Despite Biden’s Bold Words

Stephen Spaulding, a senior counsel at Common Cause, said that engaged Democratic voters were attuned to the filibuster, the Senate’s signature procedural weapon that requires a 60-vote supermajority to advance most bills. “They will have serious questions if it’s not reformed and there is no action to protect voting rights or reproductive rights, both of which are under attack in states across the country,” he said. “They will ask the question: ‘Why did you care more about a Senate rule than these priorities?’”

Insider: Democrats' 'bold' new attempt at bipartisan voting rights reform is failing to win over Manchin's GOP allies

"It's a very bold bill," Steve Spaulding, senior counsel for Public Policy & Government Affairs at Common Cause, told Insider. "It is still a sweeping, bold bill with many of the main pillars of the For The People Act in it."  "I think there is room for common ground, but at the end of the day, given that we're talking about the fundamental freedom to vote, we need to give Senator Manchin room to bring along the Republicans that will see the wisdom of supporting this revised bill," Spaulding said. "But at the end of the day, if that doesn't happen, we do think it's incumbent upon the majority to find a path forward to get this bill to the president's desk." 

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."

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