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Money & Influence 02.6.2019

New York Daily News: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez rails against 'broken' political finance laws, takes aim at Trump and 'bad guys'

“Now I’m elected, now I’m in, I got the power to draft, lobby and shape the laws that govern the United States of America. Fabulous,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Now, is there any hard limit that I have in terms of what legislation I’m allowed to touch…based on the special interests funds that I accepted?” “There’s no limit,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, president of the nonpartisan watchdog group Common Cause. Ocasio-Cortzed continued, “I can be totally funded by oil and gas, totally funded by big pharma and come in and write pharma laws?” “That’s right,” Hobert Flynn said. Wrapping up, Ocasio-Cortez then added, “We have a system that is fundamentally broken.”

Voting & Elections 02.4.2019

Dallas Morning News: Third lawsuit filed against Texas 'purge list' investigation into potential noncitizen voters

"Mr. Whitley has no business being involved with elections, much less serving as Texas' chief election officer," Anthony Gutierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, said in a written statement. Common Cause is among the groups that have asked Whitley to withdraw his office's Jan. 25 advisory. "This 'voter purge' was poorly thought out, incompetently implemented and definitely seems to have been more about politics than anything else," he said. "At this point, I think purging Mr. Whitley from the secretary of state's office would be the single best thing we could do for voting rights in Texas."

Voting & Elections 01.26.2019

TIME: Russia Wants to Undermine Trust in Elections. Here's How Rhode Island Is Fighting Back

“I’m optimistic that if Rhode Island is successful in proving that a precinct-based voting system can be efficiently audited, that other states with similar systems will take the leap,” says John Marion, executive director of Common Cause Rhode Island, who served as the initial force behind the state’s audit requirement. “I wasn’t sure that we’d be able to execute on that and have it go as smooth as it did,” he told the group at the conclusion of the pilot in January. “But,” he added, “I’ve walked away with the confidence that we can.”

Voting & Elections 01.22.2019

The New Yorker: How Voting-Machine Lobbyists Undermine the Democratic Process

Something similar happened last fall in Delaware, where the Voting Equipment Selection Task Force also voted to replace its aging touch-screen machines with a variant of the ExpressVote system. When Jennifer Hill, at Common Cause Delaware, a government-accountability group, obtained all the bids from a public-records request, she found that “the Department of Elections had pretty much tailored the request for proposal in a way that eliminated venders whose primary business was to sell paper-ballot systems.” Hill also noted that a lobbyist for E.S. & S., who was “well-connected in the state,” helped “to shepherd this whole thing through.” 

Voting & Elections 01.16.2019

New York Times: Democrats in Albany Let the Good Times Roll

These heady times at the Capitol have some of New York’s liberals pinching themselves. Susan Lerner, the executive director of Common Cause New York, a reform group, said she was recovering from shock after watching Democrats in the first hours of the new legislative session enact voting reforms that had been stymied for years. “It’s whiplash,” Ms. Lerner said. “Is there more to do? Yes. But today, we’re celebrating.”

Voting & Elections 01.16.2019

Newsweek: Diversity in Congress: Ambitious Agenda Calls for Great Expectations

House watchers suggest that the 116th Congress might also have a chance at denting public corruption. House Resolution 1, the first bill introduced this year, is a sweeping proposal aimed at money in politics, voting reforms and ethics. Those issues have broad bipartisan support in many states and localities, according to Aaron Scherb, legislative affairs director at government watchdog Common Cause. “I think a lot of the reforms at the national level will help advance the ball for when there is a more favorable political climate after 2020,” he says. 

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