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Associated Press: Wisconsin Republicans push redistricting plan to head off adverse court ruling

The higher vote requirement is a critical component of any redistricting change, said Jay Heck, director of Common Cause Wisconsin. The plan the Assembly is voting on was unveiled at a news conference Wednesday afternoon. There was no public hearing, and Democrats and advocates say they were not consulted in the drafting of the bill. “It’s not serious," Heck said. "This is an act of desperation to head off the Supreme Court from redrawing the maps. ... It just doesn’t pass the smell test on any level.”

Money & Influence 09.14.2023

Daily Beast: House Dems Aim to Make ‘Overdue’ Reforms to the FEC

Stephen Spaulding, vice president of policy at watchdog Common Cause, sharply objected to those new policies. “To require line attorneys to seek four votes from commissioners for developments in their investigations, such as wanting to speak to a new witness—the commission already has a central role in providing supervisory guidance, they don’t need to micromanage, stepping into this role is unnecessary and would further create gridlock,” Spaulding told The Daily Beast. “Committee Republicans have had a lot of show hearings, which have not been particularly substantive in many cases, but they’ve been using them to build a record to further dismantle campaign finance laws,” Spaulding told The Daily Beast, referring to the Republican-backed ACE Act. That bill, he said, would “add protections for more dark money in our elections and permit secret contributions to outside groups that are spending money in campaigns.” He added that House Republicans appear “all too happy to see the FEC fail” at its enforcement mission. “Some parts of the FEC are functioning really well. The resources and training they offer for candidates, and the administrative fine division, which has led to a dramatic reduction in late filings,” he said. “Unfortunately there are some major issues in the enforcement process that have broken down. That’s still concerning, but I’m hoping the oversight hearing will allow congress and the public to hear from the commissioners and get some reforms going.”

Money & Influence 09.13.2023

Associated Press: Santos misses extended deadline to file financial disclosure, blames fear of a ‘rushed job’

Stephen Spaulding, the vice president of policy at Common Cause, a watchdog group, described Santos’ reasoning as “nonsensical,” noting there was no reason that his federal tax obligations should prevent him from filing the necessary disclosure. “He is thumbing his nose at transparency requirements, his constituents and the public,” Spaulding said. “All the more reason to strengthen these penalties.” While it is not uncommon for representatives to file their disclosures late, few of them blow past the extended deadlines, according to Spaulding. “Everyone else seems to know how to comply with this,” he said. “It’s not onerous.”

Associated Press: GOP legislative leaders’ co-chair flap has brought the Ohio Redistricting Commission to a standstill

“The Ohio Redistricting Commission isn’t functional,” said Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, a good government group, adding that bodes poorly for the creation of fair maps. “If you can’t hear one another, you’re going to have trouble hearing the community, and hearing the folks that come to testify,” she said.



The proposal, if approved, will result in the commissioners “micromanaging things” that have long been in the OGC’s purview, said Stephen Spaulding, vice president of policy and external affairs at Common Cause, who served as a special counsel to a former Democratic FEC commissioner from May 2016 to May 2017. “It will slow investigations down and ultimately leaves the law unenforced, if they’re tied up in having meetings about whether the nonpartisan attorneys in the Office of General Counsel can even bring in another witness.”

Axios: Ohio redistricting fight resumes this week

What they're saying: Catherine Turcer, executive director of the government watchdog group Common Cause Ohio, says the reforms of 2015 and 2018 were not enough to keep partisan officials from being "drunk on power." "What we've learned is it's not enough to have good rules in the Ohio Constitution," she tells Axios. "We need independent mapmakers who aren't influenced by loyalty to party."

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