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Media & Democracy 04.17.2019

Common Dreams: Michael Copps Thinks Trump Is Trying to Put FCC Out of Business

Former commissioner says there's no democracy without honest news and an open Internet.

Money & Influence 04.17.2019

Bloomberg: Lobbying Over Car-Sharing Is Exhausting State Lawmakers

This spring, Enterprise supported a late amendment to Ohio’s transportation budget, leading to a similar scramble in that state. Side-door tactics like these are common but “less than savory,” said Aaron Scherb, legislative director of Common Cause, a nonprofit advocacy group focused on government accountability and transparency. Such moves are usually used to push legislation expected to be unpopular. As in Illinois, the car-sharing companies declared victory.

USA Today (Op-Ed): Voters finally found a way to get things done and now politicians are thwarting them

Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch suggested recently that the Supreme Court did not need to wade into the issue of partisan gerrymandering because so many states have passed reforms through the citizen initiative process that puts issues directly to voters. What Gorsuch left out is that only 24 states have a such a process. And in many of those states, legislatures are not only trying to make it harder to get issues on the ballot, they’re taking it upon themselves to reject what voters have approved — often by overwhelming majorities.

Media & Democracy 04.15.2019

Broadcasting & Cable: Prometheus Et al. Fire Back at FCC Over Ownership Dereg

“The Third Circuit has told the FCC on multiple occasions to examine how its media ownership rules impact race and gender ownership diversity," said Michael Copps, former FCC chairman and special advisor to Common Cause (one of the petitioners). "The FCC has not only failed to assess the impact of its rules on minority ownership but has also abandoned its rules all together. We urge the Court to reverse this unlawful decision and require the FCC to fulfill its statutory mandate to promote race and gender diversity in media ownership.” 

Money & Influence 04.13.2019

The Intercept: These House Democrats Pledged Not to Take Corporate Cash — But They're Using a Loophole to Do It Anyway

“If a candidate has pledged not to take corporate PAC funds, I would expect that candidate to likewise forego trade association PAC funds because the money’s coming from the same place: corporate stockholders, executives and administrative personnel,” said Paul S. Ryan, the vice president of Common Cause, which opposes corporate money in politics. “A candidate can cite a technical distinction between corporate and trade association PACs in an effort to wiggle out of the pledge, but there’s no principled distinction between the two.”

New York Times: What Is He So Afraid of?

The release of the returns would let “Americans decide whether the president is making decisions that benefit his businesses at the expense of American taxpayers,” Aaron Scherb of Common Cause, the government watchdog group, has written in USA Today. “If Trump has significant debt to banks and/or individuals in certain countries, some of which might be adversaries of the United States, we must know because his foreign policy decisions might be compromised.”

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