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Today's top new stories about money in politics and democracy.
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NEWS & ANALYSIS
Thursday

March 19, 2020

Top Money in Politics News

What our democracy needs now: Legislation that returns power to the American people (USA Today) “What do prescription drug pricing, gun safety and the climate crisis have in common? Strong majorities of Americans want Congress to act on these issues, but special interests and political corruption keep Washington, D.C., gridlocked.

Many Americans have resigned themselves to the current reality of our politics. But our government doesn’t need to — and shouldn’t — operate this way. We can and must reclaim government of, by and for the people.

Last year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 1, the For the People Act —sweeping anti-corruption legislation that would represent the biggest reform of money and ethics in government since Watergate.

We are leading the For the People Act in the Senate because this legislation is the road map we need to take our democratic republic out of the hands of the powerful and privileged, and give it back to “We the People.””

Political fundraising goes on, despite concern over coronavirus (CBS News) “There is one political activity that has not yet been canceled in light of the coronavirus outbreak: campaign fundraising.

While the presidential and congressional campaigns must adjust to a strange new world of digital rallies, tele-town halls and grounded ground-game operations, fundraising is an area that has already been working effectively online. Candidates have long been investing in and growing digital fundraising tools and see it as a critical campaign function.”

Also see: Biden Sides With Big Pharma Against Plan That Could Make Coronavirus Vaccine Affordable (Sludge)

First Candidate Claims To Max Out Public Financing Funds For D.C. Elections (DCist) “D.C.’s new public campaign-financing program is currently in its first election year, and it has already seen about a dozen candidates qualify for more than $1 million in city funding. And on Wednesday, the campaign of one of those candidates announced that it was the first ever to reach a maximum contribution match for the program, called “Fair Elections,” thanks to a bevy of support from small-dollar donors.

Janeese Lewis George, a former District government attorney who’s running in the Ward 4 D.C. Council race against incumbent Brandon Todd, has met the maximum match for a council candidate, according to her campaign. George’s team says she’s now entitled to $241,055 in total matching public funds, based on receiving roughly $48,300 in contributions from almost 1,200 D.C. residents.”

Super PACs outmaneuver outdated rules to leave voters in the dark (Center for Responsive Politics) “Super PACs on both sides of the aisle are abusing loopholes in campaign finance law to keep their donors secret, leaving primary voters in the dark about who is trying to influence them. 

These groups are required to disclose their donors. But by launching a new super PAC just before an election, political actors can spend unlimited sums influencing races without disclosing their funding sources until after votes are counted. 
Between the Nevada Caucuses and the March 17 primaries, at least 11 groups used this tactic to conceal the source of nearly $24 million in election spending in presidential, House and Senate races.”

5 times Trey Trainor’s FEC confirmation hearing raised questions about his qualifications (Issue One) “At his confirmation hearing last week in the Senate Rules Committee, Texas attorney Trey Trainor’s remarks raised serious questions about whether he should be confirmed to serve on the Federal Election Commission (FEC), a post for which he has been nominated by President Donald Trump.

“The answers that Trey Trainor gave at his confirmation hearing did not allay concerns about his record or his intentions,” said Issue One Executive Director Meredith McGehee. “Trey Trainor’s rosy assessment of the FEC is not grounded in reality. Senators from both parties should have serious doubts about Trey Trainor’s ability to be the effective campaign finance cop the American people need. Surely President Trump can find other qualified Republicans who will prioritize enforcing both the spirit and the letter of law.”

Here are five exchanges from Trainor’s confirmation hearing last week that illustrate how he is out of touch with the FEC and the major campaign finance issues facing the country.”

SOCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

ON H.R.1
It’s time to fix our broken political system that blocks progress on so many issues Americans care about. One year ago the House passed the #ForThePeople Act to do just that. It’s time for @senatemajldr to bring #HR1 up for a vote.

ON CORONAVIRUS 
The show must go on. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/political-fundraising-goes-on-despite-concern-over-coronavirus

ON DC
First Candidate Claims To Max Out Public Financing Funds For D.C. Elections
https://dcist.com/story/20/03/18/first-candidate-claims-to-max-out-public-financing-funds-for-d-c-elections

ON DARK MONEY
#DarkMoneyOut https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2020/03/sunshine-week-2020-super-pacs-loophole

ON FEC
RT Issue One “The answers that Trey Trainor gave at his confirmation hearing did not allay concerns about his record or his intentions,” says @IOMcGehee.

Here are 5 exchanges from Trainor’s FEC confirmation hearing that raised questions about his qualifications: https://t.co/VBxCKjTaq4


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