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Voting & Elections 05.16.2024

PolitiFact: FALSE “Voter fraud investigations are being banned by Michigan lawmakers!”

Quentin Turner, executive director of Common Cause Michigan, a voting rights group, said recounts are handled by election administrators who lack the authority to investigate criminal fraud. "Voter fraud is a crime and investigations into crime can only be done by law enforcement," Turner said.

Money & Influence 05.16.2024

The Daily Beast: This Mysterious New GOP Dark Money Group Raises All Kinds of Red Flags

“501(c)(4s) are social welfare organizations that increasingly have been misused to spend money for political purposes,” Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs at Common Cause, told The Daily Beast. “Under the IRS tax code, they don't have to disclose their donors. And so that's why they've become a popular vehicle for people who are trying to use dark money to influence political outcomes.” Watchdog groups have argued for years that the decision of three Republican commissioners to deadlock votes on enforcement have prevented increased transparency. Scherb suggested that the deadlocks “seem to give a green light to straw donor schemes.” “If they know that there's no action,” he said, “Or if they know that there's, at most, going to be a slap on the wrist, it sends a signal that there can kind of be the Wild West again of campaign finance laws.”

Los Angeles Times: Ethics reform measure will go to L.A. voters. Critics say it’s watered down

California Common Cause, a good-government group, called the measure “disheartening.” “The Los Angeles City Council had a chance to turn the tide of corruption at City Hall and begin a new era in which L.A. residents could trust their local elected officials,” said Jonathan Mehta Stein, the group’s executive director. “Instead they chose to uphold a broken, shameful status quo.”

Voting & Elections 05.16.2024

Texas Tribune/VoteBeat: Gillespie County election costs balloon after switch to hand count

“It’s absurd to spend this money on this when elections in Texas especially are just so chronically underfunded,” said Anthony Guitierrez, executive director of Common Cause Texas, a nonpartisan voter advocacy and government watchdog organization. “They could have used this funding for the election staff who are overworked and underpaid everywhere in Texas. It could be spent on election infrastructure so that voters have a more efficient voting experience, or on public outreach.”

Money & Influence 05.15.2024

MEDIAite: ‘Start Writing’: See Cohen Texts To Maggie Haberman From Bombshell Trump Trial Testimony

From: 0114 Michael Cohen (owner) To: 4978 Maggie Haberman To: 4978 Maggie Haberman “In late January 2018, I received a copy of a complaint filed at the Federal Election Commission (FEC) by Common Cause. The complaint alleges that I somehow violated campaign finance laws by facilitating an excess, in-kind contribution. The allegations in the complaint are factually unsupported and without legal merit, and my counsel has submitted a response to the FEC. I am Mr. Trump’s longtime special counsel and I have proudly served in that role for more than a decade. In a private transaction in 2016, I used my own personal funds to facilitate a payment of $130,000 to Ms. Stephanie Clifford. Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms. Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly. The payment to Ms. Clifford was lawful, and was not a campaign contribution or a campaign expenditure by anyone. I do not plan to provide any further comment on the FEC matter or regarding Ms. Clifford.”

Voting & Elections 05.15.2024

NBC News: Wisconsin Republicans change their tune on ballot drop boxes ahead of state Supreme Court ruling

The legal seesaw over the broader issue reveals that both parties understand what’s at stake, said Jay Heck, the executive director of Common Cause Wisconsin, the state’s branch of the national nonpartisan government watchdog group. “It could make a difference around the margins,” said Heck, whose group filed an amicus brief in support of overturning the 2022 ruling. “But, you know, the small margins are important in Wisconsin.”

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