Author Archive for: dhensel

How to tell the difference between super PACs and dark money groups

America First Policies, the nonprofit run by former Trump staffers and dedicated to supporting the president’s policies, has attracted a lot of news coverage over the past few weeks, between its avid participation in the Georgia special election and its ads targeting Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) for not supporting the Senate health care bill. But even veteran reporters have been

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Retiring House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chair loves not needing to fundraise anymore.

In an exit interview on “Full Measure” with Sharyl Attkisson, broadcast to millions of homes nationwide, U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) lambasted the fundraising virus that plagues our elected representatives. Chaffetz, who was first elected to the House in 2008 and has served as chair of the Oversight Committee since 2015, announced he

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Money-in-politics ballot initiatives roundup

With the 2016 elections nearly a month away, it’s time for an update on the various state ballot initiative efforts at money-in-politics reform around the country. Oregon Oregon is one of six states with no limit on campaign contributions. As a result, the Center for Public Integrity ranked the state second to last for its campaign finance system. Thankfully, Multnomah

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The Clinton Foundation’s legacy of access

New emails released from the State Department during presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s time in charge reveal a disappointing trend: a series of exchanges between Clinton Foundation heads and donors that culminated in access to the Secretary of State herself. While the emails, as of now, fail to show any actual favors granted, the general practice of donations-for-access is quite troubling.

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Virginia legislators accept fewer gifts

The state of Virginia has some of the most lax gift laws in the country. Perhaps that’s why its last three governors have found themselves in hot water in one way or another because of contributions and gifts. But while little has changed in the state’s law even after governor after governor faces blinding scrutiny for their judgment, or lack

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What’s the matter with Miami-Dade?

NOTE: This page has been updated for further developments. Strange things are afoot in Miami-Dade County. Florida’s most populous county is the subject of a heated debate over money in politics. Earlier this month, Accountable Miami-Dade collected 127,000 petition signatures to add an initiative to this November’s ballot. The initiative would ban gifts to candidates by lobbyists or government contractors, lower

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Reform in the states: A round-up

This is part of a series examining ethics, transparency and campaign finance proposals in the states.  As presidential candidates criss-cross the country campaigning for the Oval Office, it is important to remember that states — those laboratories of democracy — are not waiting for Congress and the president to tackle their own ethics and political issues. Here’s a brief round-up of what

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Rep. Jim Gerlach slams the DNC on fundraising

This op-ed originally appeared in RealClearPolitics. As if Americans needed more reasons to fundamentally distrust their government, a package of nearly 20,000 leaked Democratic National Committee emails recently landed on doorsteps around the country in the form of news headlines.  Squirreled away in the messages are kernels of insight into how some Washington politicians and their staff continue to court the donor

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Money in politics at the conventions: a round-up

The two weeks that span the two rival conventions are some of the craziest days in all of politics. The party elite and loyal descend on a city for four days, while protesters, journalists and, of course, lobbyists crowd around them. This year has been no exception. Here is a round-up of the money-in-politics news that has emerged from Cleveland

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