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New York Times: Trump Says Payment to Stormy Daniels Did Not Violate Campaign Laws

Paul Seamus Ryan, vice president for policy and litigation at Common Cause, said the latest explanation of the payment — that Mr. Trump reimbursed Mr. Cohen — does not eliminate the possibility that the payment violated campaign finance laws. “A lot of contradictions coming out of Team Trump this morning,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview with The New York Times. “This payment was to influence the election,” he added. And he said new details about the payment and repayment could raise additional legal problems because it might violate campaign finance laws about straw donors that prohibit making a donation in the name of another person.

Newsweek: Trump Made Stars Out of Ethics Experts. Can Richard Painter Turn That into a Senate Seat?

“As someone who has worked on these issues for decades, I have never seen such a public interest,” Karen Hobert Flynn, president of nonpartisan government watchdog Common Cause, told Newsweek. She credits ethics experts like Painter for contributing to that interest. “Having attorneys who specialize in this, that can explain what the law says and what the administration was doing, and could do it in ways that were accessible and understandable, I think people become hungry for it,” Hobert Flynn said. She added that her group has added 40,000 small donors since Trump took office and that fundraising is up 175 percent year over year.

04.30.2018

CNN: What T-Mobile-Sprint deal could mean for wireless prices

Michael Copps, a former FCC commissioner and special adviser to the watchdog group Common Cause, said T-Mobile's strategy was a direct result of its need to compete with Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. But if competition is reduced, Copps said, T-Mobile will be less likely to think creatively about customer needs. "I don't see the benefits for consumers in a marketplace where Verizon and AT&T and new T-Mobile would be calling all the shots," said Copps, who was appointed to the FCC by President George W. Bush and also served during the Obama administration. ... Those and other expenses, like Sprint's hefty debt, could ultimately harm consumers and increase prices, Copps said. When mergers of this size go through, he said, companies put "consumer interest down even lower."

04.30.2018

ABC News: Trump campaign has paid portions of Michael Cohen's legal fees: Sources

"They're on shaky legal ground," said Stephen Spaulding, chief of strategy at the nonprofit watchdog group Common Cause. "It sounds like they are really pushing the envelope … If the campaign were to say they are campaign-related payments, then maybe it's okay to use campaign funds. But he can't have it both ways."

04.30.2018

Associated Press: Sprint, T-Mobile Have to Sell $26.5B Deal to Antitrust Cops

Advocacy organizations said the deal will likely lead to higher cellphone plans because there will be less competition. Michael Copps, a former FCC chairman and an adviser to the watchdog group Common Cause, said consumers will "lose a lot of the innovation and competitive spirit that T-Mobile had" when it was challenging not just AT&T and Verizon, but Sprint as well.

New York Times: The Sheldon Silver Trial: Take Two

“I have no doubt that Silver will put forward the same defense, which is that it’s business as usual in Albany and therefore not illegal,” said Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York. “That’s why it’s so important that the first jury rejected this argument, and we expect that the second jury will do the same.”

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