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Clockwise from top left: Sen. Martha McSally, Sen. John Cornyn, Rep. Will Hurd and Rep. Duncan Hunter are among the dozen Republicans targeted for defeat.

End Citizens United targets a dozen Hill Republicans for campaign finance records

End Citizens United, which claimed significant success in the midterm elections by campaigning against Republican lawmakers who back the money-in-politics status quo, has put another five senators and seven House members in its 2020 crosshairs.

The progressive watchdog group is dedicated to taking money out of politics, supporting candidates for Congress who pledge to back legislation to tighten campaign finance regulation and opposing lawmakers it sees as tied to big-money special interests in a particularly egregious way. The 12 incumbents on the initial target list "represent the worst of Washington's corrupt establishment, and their decades in office are a stark example of how corporate special interests and dark money conspire to rig our political system," according to the group's president, Tiffany Muller.

The group said all 12 were targeted for defeat in its "Big Money 20" campaign, because of their inappropriate closeness to the drug companies, energy companies and Wall Street firms that have financed their past elections. Four of them are currently or have previously been under investigation for corruption or campaign finance violations.

The group has not yet determined how much money it will spend, but a spokesperson promised "significant investments in these races" and others that will be added to the list later. In the last campaign, it spent more than $10 million on efforts to defeat a score of Republican lawmakers, claiming victory in 15 of those races.

The targeted senators are:

  • Susan Collins of Maine
  • John Cornyn of Texas
  • Joni Ernst of Iowa
  • Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
  • Martha McSally of Arizona

The targeted House members are:

  • Chris Collins of New York
  • Rodney Davis of Illinois
  • George Holding of North Carolina
  • Duncan Hunter of California
  • Will Hurd of Texas
  • David Schweikert of Arizona
  • Ross Spano of Florida

The group announced that it has already endorsed five challengers to these incumbents: astronaut Mark Kelly against McSally, unsuccessful 2018 House candidate MJ Hegar against Cornyn, Ammar Campa-Najjar in his rematch against Hunter, Betsy Dirksen Londrigan for her rematch against Davis and Gina Ortiz Jones in her rematch against Hurd.

Those five lawmakers, and five others on the list, are already viewed as facing some of the toughest and most expensive re-election contests in the country next year. The two who are not, Spano and Schweikert, made the list because of publicized allegations of campaign finance impropriety.

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U.S. Air Force photo by Kemberly Groue

Naturalized citizens living in Mississippi must prove their citizenship when they register to vote, unlike those born in the United States. Above, members of the military are sworn in as U.S. citizens at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi.

Mississippi voting rules are biased against naturalized citizens, lawsuit alleges

The latest effort to ease restrictions on voting through litigation is a challenge to Mississippi's requirement that naturalized citizens show proof of their citizenship when they register.

The lawsuit, filed Monday by the Mississippi Immigrants Rights Alliance, says the law is unconstitutional because it violates of the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause by treating one category of citizens differently from another. People born in the United States need only check a box on the state's registration form attesting they are citizens.

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Committee on the Modernization of Congress

"Members are clearly concerned for the future of Congress. These are not partisan or political concerns," writes Mark Strand.

Now that the House’s modernization panel is extended, it has a lot more work to do

Strand is president of the Congressional Institute, a nonprofit that seeks to help members of Congress better serve their constituents and their constituents better understand Congress. He testified before the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress in March.

As the House of Representatives marches toward a partisan impeachment, the American public can be forgiven for missing a bright spot of productive bipartisanship: the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress. After an encouraging year of bipartisan committee work, the House voted last week to extend the panel for a year.

This committee has made 29 unanimous recommendations to improve technology, transparency, accessibility and constituent engagement as well as provide better support for staff. Twenty-nine unanimous recommendations. And these aren't boiler plate measures like "The House should have more transparency." They are well thought-out solutions that can be taken up by committees of jurisdiction, such as allowing new members to hire a transition staffer, promoting civility during new-member orientation, streamlining bill writing and finalizing a system to easily track how amendments would alter legislation and impact current law.

The committee's members wanted to be part of this work. They understand how important it is for the House to catch up with modern times. There's still a lot of work to do, though, which is why it's great they will be able to continue through the end of 2020.

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