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Republicans Now Are More Open to the Idea of Expanding Presidential Power
Balance of Power

Support for expanding presidential power rises among Republicans

A growing number of Republicans support expanding the power of the presidency, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.

More than 40 percent of Republicans surveyed in July said presidents would be more effective if "they didn't have to worry so much about Congress or the courts." That was up from 26 percent who supported the idea in February 2017, according to the survey.

The change was primarily driven by those identified as "conservative Republicans," whose support for expanding presidential power rose to 52 percent compared to 26 percent in March 2018. Less than a third of moderate and liberal Republicans supported the idea then and now.

While only 16 percent of Democrats believed in expanding presidential power in the July survey, 29 percent had supported the idea in August 2016, when Barack Obama was president.

Overall, 66 percent of Americans said it would be "too risky" to give presidents more power to deal with the country's problems, down from 76 percent who held the view a year ago.

The survey also found a change in favorability of Congress among Republicans and Democrats.

Forty-three percent of Democrats had a favorable view of Congress, up from 24 percent in March 2018. But the share of Republicans with a favorable view was 27 percent, down from 37 percent a year ago.

Overall, just over a third of Americans viewed Congress favorably versus 59 percent who viewed it unfavorably.

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Computer company Hewlett Packard received a perfect score from the index for its policies on political spending disclosure.

Big companies disclosing more could-be-secret political spending, analysis shows

An increasing number of the country's largest publicly traded companies are disclosing more than ever about political spending habits that the law permits them to keep secret.

That's the central finding of the fifth annual report from a group of academics and corporate ethicists, who say the average score among the biggest companies traded on American exchanges, the S&P 500, has gone up each year since 2014.

Though corporate political action committees must disclose their giving to candidates, those numbers are very often dwarfed by the donations businesses make to the trade associations and other outside groups that have driven so much of the steady rise in spending on elections. Conservatives say robust disclosure of these behaviors is the best form of regulating money in politics and is working fine, and this new report reflects that. Those who say campaign finance needs more assertive federal regulation will argue such corporate transparency is inconsistent and inadequate to the task, and the new report underscores that.

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Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon is joined by fellow Democratic members of the House and Senate this summer to discuss legislation that would attempt to prevent hacking into the country's election systems. Intelligence officials announced late last week an outline for how to release information about possible hacks during the 2020 elections.

Intel community promising more transparency about election hacking efforts

A year from the presidential election, U.S. intelligence agencies have adopted a new framework for how they will inform candidates, groups and the public about attempts to disrupt our country's elections by foreign operatives.

But the one-page summary of the plan, released late last week, is so general that it remains unclear what the intelligence community plans to do if and when it discovers something suspicious.

The summary by the director of national intelligence states that the federal government will "follow a process and principles designed to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that notification decisions are consistent, well-informed and unbiased."

The new framework is designed to prevent a repeat of some of what happened after the 2016 election.

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