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The News for August 10, 2018 – Swampiest moments for Trump, Dems decry a culture of corruption

August 10, 2018 | Laura Friedenbach

On the campaign trail and during his inaugural address, Donald Trump repeatedly pledged to “drain the swamp” of Washington, but CNN reports, “the intervening year and a half of his administration has been tagged by a dizzying number of side plots, dramas, scandals, allegations and now criminal cases involving people in Trump’s orbit allegedly using the organs of government to enrich themselves or running seriously afoul of ethics rules designed to protect against even the appearance of such a conflict.”

CNN takes a look at the swampiest moments of the Trump administration, including more than one development this week like the charges of insider trading against ally Rep. Chris Collins.

Amid the Chris Collins scandal and continuous Trump administration scandals, the AP reports, “Democrats are jumping on a Republican congressman’s insider trading indictment to decry a culture of corruption they say President Donald Trump has fostered”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi pledged ethics overhauls will be a top priority if Democrats gain power in Congress: “A Democratic Majority will swiftly act to pass tougher ethics and campaign finance laws and crack down on the conduct that has poisoned the GOP Congress and the Trump Administration”

Democracy Reform Task Force Chair Rep. John Sarbanes: “President @realDonaldTrump’s ethical blindness — along with his efforts to profit off the Presidency — has infected the @GOP and enabled a culture of corruption in Washington. Democrats have a plan to clean this place up!”

Campaign Finance/Election Law

CNN: Why are these elected officials so afraid of the voters?
Professor Joshua A. Douglas: “A democracy should be responsive to the will of the people. Unfortunately, politicians in many states are trying to thwart that will, rejecting voter-backed election rules in an effort to aggrandize their power and keep themselves in office. We must put an end to these anti-democratic actions. Voters are justifiably upset at their elected leaders’ complicity in the problems of gerrymandering, the increasing amount of money in politics, and voter suppression.”

Blade: Appeals court upholds judicial fund-raising limits
“A federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the constitutionality of a rule applied to Ohio judicial candidates that restricts when they may begin raising money.”

MassLive: Automatic voter registration will be available in Massachusetts, starting in 2020
Good news: “Massachusetts residents will be automatically registered to vote when they make transactions at the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles or with MassHealth, under a new law signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.”

Congress/Administration

CNN: Trump begins 2018 fundraising blitz
“President Donald Trump will attend a series of Republican fundraisers over the next week — including Wednesday night — and is predicting a coming “red wave” in the midterms and steps up his travel on behalf of GOP candidates.” One of those fundraisers will take place at Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey: “A source involved with the fundraising committee said Protect the House will cover the expenses of the event Wednesday at the President’s property — meaning Trump National Golf Club will profit.” Pence is busy fundraising too.

NBC News Channel 2: Dueling Congressional fundraisers
President Trump is fundraising for Rep. Claudia Tenney the same night her opponent Anthony Brindisi is holding a fundraiser. With one big difference: “The price tag is 1 percent of the price of seeing the president.”

TeenVogue: Meet Cathy Myers, the Former Teacher Who’s Running for Paul Ryan’s Seat in Congress
Cathy Myers on money in politics: “I really believe in grassroots. I really believe that we should be very careful about who we take money from. I believe in public financing of campaigns. The money-in-politics issue is one of those things that limits us as a country. There are a lot of really great people who want to participate in the governance of their state and country but then they look at how much money you have to raise, even for school board races or whatever, and it’s a total turnoff. They feel like, ‘I can’t do that.’”

Today, Common Cause launched a nationwide “Our Democracy 2018″ campaign and candidate questionnaire to get candidates on the record on democracy reform.

MissouriNet: McCaskill, Hawley exchange barbs while securing U.S. Senate nominations
Sen. Claire McCaskill stated that when she meets Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, “I want to ask him about dark money in politics… I want to ask him about fighting for the little guy instead of the big corporations.”

The Hill: Kavanaugh nomination a make or break moment to repeal Citizens United
Rep. Brad Schneider and former Rep. Ron Barber: “President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court could cement the court’s tilt in favor of big money and corporate special interests for a generation. This should serve as a clarion call for our elected officials and citizens to end the out-of-control campaign spending that is corrupting our governance. Congress must step up and pass legislation to return transparency and accountability to our political process.”

VTDigger: House debate centers on Welch acceptance of corporate money
“Everything in the 50-minute U.S. House debate hosted by Channel 17 Tuesday night seemed to revolve around Rep. Peter Welch’s acceptance of corporate contributions — even when the topic turned to such issues as Medicare for all, the opioid crisis or the Trump Administration’s tariff policies.”

NBC CT: Hayes, Glassman Clash Over Campaign Finance, Support for Pelosi
Congressional debate heats up over who funds the candidates’ campaigns: “Glassman made the first attack, criticizing Hayes for having more financial support from out-of-state donors.”

LOL Ben Shapiro challenged Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to a debate, offering her a $10,000 campaign donation (which would be illegal).

NBC: Republicans outspent Democrats by 3 to 1 margin in contested special elections
“The Republican Party and its major outside groups have now spent about $41.7 million during the key special elections this cycle, compared to $12.3 million in Democratic spending. “

States/Other

New Haven Register: Voters must object to misinformation about Citizens’ Election Program
Elona Vaisnys of the League of Women Voters: “We Connecticut voters must object to misinformation about our Citizens’ Election Program, a national gem of a state campaign financing program. CEP gives us clean elections, something we say we want. Well, let’s let our elected representatives know that.”

Detroit News: ‘No regrets’ for Thanedar after putting $10.6M into campaign
Wow, I still can’t believe this is a choice some people have: “Ann Arbor entrepreneur Shri Thanedar said Thursday he has “no regrets” after pumping $10.6 million of his own money into his Michigan gubernatorial campaign but finishing last in the Democratic primary.”

Wyoming Tribune Eagle: Gubernatorial candidates talk health care, campaign finance reform
A top topic at debates: “Candidates were asked whether they support the Wyoming Promise Initiative, a grassroots effort on behalf of Wyoming residents to repeal what’s known as Citizens United.”

TimesUnion: Millions invested to influence elections
“Nearly $5 million has been committed by independent political groups vying to influence the September and November elections in New York. Yet it’s likely that many millions more will be spent by outside groups”

CALmatters: As Capitol wildfire debate rages, utilities have doubled dollars on lobbying
“Between the end of last year’s deadly wildfires and the start of this summer’s fatal blazes, utilities and insurers with a huge stake in the aftermath have poured more than $3.2 million into California campaign donations and another $5.2 million into state lobbying—a big spike.”

Santa Fe New Mexican: Former Sen. Griego to plead guilty in campaign finance case
“Former state Sen. Phil Griego, who already is serving prison time for corruption, will plead guilty this month to criminal charges in a separate case related to his campaign finance reports.”

Laura Friedenbach

Laura is Every Voice's Deputy Communications Director