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Your one-stop destination for political reform, government ethics and accountability news and updates from a nonpartisan perspective.

The Age of Super PACs

Check out this great video infographic from the New York Times about how candidates and Super PACs get around anti-coordination laws. What’s the solution to this blatant rulebreaking? For starters, the Federal Election Commission could start enforcing the law. You can read more here. Video: The Age of Super PACs

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DC Court Upholds Pay-to-Play Ban

Some great news came out of the courts Tuesday, as the DC Court of Appeals upheld a law barring federal contractors from making contributions in federal elections. The ban, which has been in place since 1940, is designed to prevent a pay-to-play system by which companies can only receive contracts by donating to elected officials. Issue One supports these bans,

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IRS to Dark Money Groups: “It’s Open Season.”

The Internal Revenue Service is unlikely to take steps to shine a light on dark money spending in the run-up to the 2016 elections, the New York Times reports today. The result: millions of dollars flooding into politics from shadowy nonprofits that are not required to disclose their donors; said one expert, “it’s going to be pretty much open season.”

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Solutions 101: The Disclosure System We Have Now

Disclosure requirements are varied, complicated, and poorly enforced. That’s a problem, because where there is confusion, subversion and outright disregard for the law abounds. As campaign finance law has mutated and adapted to contemporary conditions, it fragmented, building the splintered disclosure apparatus we have today. Following reforms in the late 1970s, political parties became especially dominant within the campaign finance process. So-called

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Solutions 101: What is Disclosure?

Disclosure is the foundation of campaign finance regulation. Being able to follow the money in our elections allows the public to hold those who give it and spend it responsible. Money matters – and society should be able to see where it goes. Essentially, disclosure requirements are in place to show who is giving money in politics, whether that money

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How to Run for President Without Declaring Your Candidacy

The presumed frontrunner for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination had raised millions of dollars, traveled around the country, and given speech after speech about the future of the nation, all before declaring himself a candidate. If you want to cut Jeb Bush’s newly-minted campaign a check, you’ll be bound by current campaign contribution limits to $2,700. Until he formally announced his

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Alabama Gets Tough on Campaign Finance

Some good news out of Alabama, where state legislators have recognized that without well-defined regulations and clear enforcement mechanisms, it is impossible to monitor the flow of money into and out of elections. Alabama’s newly amended campaign finance laws prioritize making regulations clearer and more effective. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur), fills a major oversight gap by authorizing

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Reform in the States: A Roundup

This is part of a series examining ethics, transparency and campaign finance proposals in the states.  Washington, D.C. is the only place in the country where money-in-politics reform is a tough sell. Outside the Beltway, America’s cities and states are taking the lead in implementing innovative policy solutions that get to the heart of the problem. Here’s a run-down on what’s happening right

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The Cash Behind All Those Political Ads

It’s no secret that campaigns are big money-makers. The 2012 election, the most expensive in history, cost over $7 billion — that’s a lot of buttons and yard signs. Through October 29, 2012, President Obama and Governor Romney spent $265 million on campaign advertisements alone as they battled for the national audience’s attention. It sounds glib, but when candidates spend,

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2016 Candidates Are All About Reform

According to a recent New York Times/CBS News poll, Americans across the political spectrum are concerned about the influence of money in politics. 85% of respondents, including 81% of Republicans, said our current campaign finance system should be fundamentally changed or completely overhauled. Numbers like that are hard to ignore, and presidential hopefuls from both parties are already weighing in

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Read “Why We Left Congress: How the Legislative Branch Is Broken and What We Can Do About It”

Issue One’s new joint report with the R Street Institute examines the legislative branch’s dysfunction through conversations with members who have voluntarily departed in the 2018 cycle. Read the full report and proposed solutions in “Why We Left Congress: How the Legislative Branch is Broken and What We Can Do About Ithere.