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Money & Influence 06.1.2018

The Intercept: In Three California House Races, Wealthy Democrats Have Spent $16 Million of Their Own Money So Far

“It goes to show how out of balance the way we pay for campaigns is,” said Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy and external affairs for the reform group Common Cause. “The system makes it easier for wealthy individuals to mount campaigns, and harder for ordinary people to do so.”... If a self-funder happens to get into Congress, they bring to Washington a worldview that aligns with the top 1 percent. “Congress does not at all reflect the community it represents,” said Stephen Spaulding of Common Cause. “We have to figure out ways to change the system.”

TIME Op-Ed: The President’s Pardon Might Be About More Than Dinesh D’Souza. Just Look at Trump’s Own Legal Trouble

The President’s pardon of Dinesh D’Souza looks like an effort to dismiss his own apparent violations as no big deal. But violating campaign finance laws is a big deal, and no one is above the law — not even the President.

USA Today Op-Ed: Trump's pardons send a clear signal to those who disregard the rule

Trump’s pardon sends an unmistakable signal: He will abuse the pardon power to excuse those who flout the rules that protect the integrity of our democracy. As the president continues to debase the rule of law, Congress must put country before party and exercise its oversight responsibilities, and voters must continue to do their part to stay informed, stay engaged, and make their voices heard.

Politico: New Mexico governor candidate profited from high-risk insurance plans

Much of the enforcement of New Mexico’s conflict of interest and vote recusal rules revolves around voluntary compliance and having other legislators police each other, said Viki Harrison with Common Cause New Mexico, which advocates for stricter ethics laws. New Mexico legislators are not paid a salary and serve only part-time. “When you police yourselves there’s always going to be questions around transparency and cronyism,” she said.

Money & Influence 05.29.2018

Associated Press: Keystone XL Developer Showers Nebraska With Campaign Cash

TransCanada's spending in Nebraska is high compared to many companies that lobby state officials, said Jack Gould, issues chairman of Common Cause Nebraska, a political watchdog group. In addition to the campaign contributions, TransCanada has previously reported spending more than $1.2 million on lobbying in Nebraska between 2006 and mid-2017. "I guess from their perspective, they're doing what they think they need to do to get the pipeline built," Gould said.

Money & Influence 05.28.2018

Washington Post: Good-government or quid pro quo? Anti-Dominion pledge raises eyebrows in Richmond.

Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy for the good-government watchdog Common Cause, said he was “sympathetic” to Clean Virginia’s “overall policy goals” but found the emailed offer “problematic” — particularly because it was sent to official state email accounts, which should not be used for campaign purposes.

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