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Media & Democracy 09.29.2019

Seattle Times (Op-Ed): Journalists must make the shrinking free press a campaign issue

In the coming months and during the presidential debates, the public and the candidates themselves should demand that media hold itself accountable in campaign coverage. Reporters should begin asking candidates why we don’t have net neutrality and an open internet despite polls showing 85% of the public — Republicans, Democrats and Independents — support it. Reporters should be asking the candidates if media consolidation troubles them and what they might do about it. Reporters should be asking why so many communities live in news deserts today and what they would do to fix this.

Voting & Elections 09.29.2019

The Independent: ‘Not enough has been done’: US election security still vulnerable to Russia heading into 2020 – even with new funding, experts warn

Karen Hobert Flynn, the president of the activist group Common Cause, says McConnell’s decision to support funding is a “step in the right direction”, but that the funding “still falls far short” of what is needed to solve the problem. “Election systems across the country have been breached by Russian intelligence assets and those attacks continue to this day,” she adds. “These attacks and those of other hostile foreign powers will continue to ramp up as we approach the 2020 elections, and cash-strapped local elections officials desperately need significant federal assistance. The federal government must step in to provide the resources and the expertise to help states and local governments secure the integrity of their election systems against sophisticated foreign cyber attacks.”

Associated Press: Redistricting lawsuit victors say NC House map falls short

“This court gave the General Assembly an opportunity to draw remedial maps and cure their prior constitutional violations,” attorney Eddie Speas wrote for the Common Cause plaintiffs. “Although its process was not without flaws, the Senate has done so. But the House has not.”

McClatchy: Trump hasn’t filled top watchdog jobs at Pentagon, CIA, other agencies

“A whistleblower by nature is caught up in controversy. The inspector general makes sure he’s protected,” Beth Rotman, director of money in politics & ethics at Common Cause, said. Rotman and others cite instances where IGs have uncovered widespread abuse.“The stunning alleged misconduct of the president urging election interference by a foreign power was almost covered up until the IG stepped in,” said Rotman. “Who knows what other threats to our democracy are out there right now?”

Voting & Elections 09.27.2019


As the Campus Outreach Coordinator for Common Cause North Carolina, an organization dedicated to fighting for voting access while also championing political reforms for fairer elections, 30-year-old Alyssa Canty, a recipient of the 2019 MTV Leaders for Change grant, is currently empowering students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in North Carolina to stay informed and participate in local, state, and presidential elections. She is gearing up to take on a new role with Common Cause National, where she will work with schools all over the country. “I hope to take the program we have in North Carolina....and do similar work in other states in order to involve young people, and especially people of color, in politics,” she told MTV News. “My major professional goal is to create a larger base of engaged individuals.”

Money & Influence 09.27.2019

Just Security (Op-Ed): The Iceberg’s Tip: Ukraine Phone Call and the Months-Long Conspiracy to Violate Federal Campaign Finance Laws

Earlier this week the White House released a rough transcript of President Donald Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. Understandably, there’s been much scrutiny of the transcript. Is the transcript complete? What exactly did Trump ask Zelensky for? Was there a “quid pro quo” exchange? To be clear, the transcript is incriminating on its face. But this narrow and granular analysis on one conversation risks missing the big picture. The most important takeaway from the call transcript and the now-public whistleblower complaint is that President Trump seemingly orchestrated a months-long conspiracy to obtain Ukrainian government assistance in his 2020 reelection campaign—in violation of federal campaign finance laws and, perhaps, other statutes. The Department of Justice (DOJ) decision not to investigate these violations has no basis in law. And it turns out Attorney General William Barr had no business being involved in the matter, as he is implicated both in the whistleblower complaint and by the transcript of President Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.

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