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Common Cause v. Rep. Matt Gaetz (Office Lease)

Legal Filings

On April 22, 2020, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ), the U.S. House Committee on House Administration, and the Office of Congressional Ethics against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and his landlord and donor Collier Merrill for their failure to disclose their longstanding relationship while seeking the required congressional approval of an office lease. The complaints urge an investigation into whether both men violated the criminal law prohibition on concealment of material facts in filings or statements to the federal government, and whether Rep. Gaetz is violating House gift rules by paying less than market value for his office rent.

Common Cause v. Senators Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein and Inhofe (STOCK Act)

Legal Filings

On March 20, 2020, Common Cause filed complaints with the Senate Select Committee on Ethics, Securities and Exchange Commission and Department of Justice calling for investigations of Senators Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler, James Inhofe and Dianne Feinstein to determine whether the Senators violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012 (STOCK Act), the Securities Exchange Act, the U.S. Criminal Code and other federal laws and regulations regarding stock trading applicable to Members of Congress. Specifically, Common Cause requested an investigation of whether these Senators engaged in illegal insider trading by trading stocks based on material, nonpublic information regarding the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic received in private, confidential briefings for Senators by officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and other government officials.

Money & Influence 01.22.2020

Common Cause v. Our Revolution (“Soft Money” Violation)

Legal Filings

On January 22, 2020, Common Cause filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that Our Revolution, a nonprofit political organization established by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016 and now supporting his 2020 presidential campaign, violated the federal ‘soft money’ ban. The complaint documents that Our Revolution has solicited contributions explicitly to elect Sanders president, received contributions far in excess of the applicable $5,000 contribution limit and spent funds in connection with federal elections, including current voter mobilization efforts supporting Sanders in Iowa.

Money & Influence 09.23.2019

Common Cause v. Trump (Ukraine Contribution Solicitation)

Legal Filings

On September 23, 2019, Common Cause filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that President Donald Trump, his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, and other political operatives illegally solicited a political contribution from a foreign national—by urging Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other Ukrainian officials to investigate Hunter Biden and 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden.

Money & Influence 08.2.2019

Common Cause v. Kobach

Legal Filings

On August 2, 2019, Common Cause filed complaints with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that solicitations for campaign contributions to former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s Senate campaign distributed by We Build the Wall, Inc. violated multiple campaign finance laws. The email solicitation appears to violate the ban on corporate contributions to a federal candidate and the prohibition on candidates spending “soft money” in connection with their election. The email also lacks the “paid for by” disclaimer required by federal law when candidates solicit political contributions. 

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