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Castro, Klobuchar put voting rights at forefront of social media efforts

The Washington Post recently released a nifty analysis of the policy issues most often mentioned on social media last month by the candidates seeking or exploring the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Post analyzed more than 5,600 social media posts from 15 candidates, coding keywords under eight broad categories. Policy-centric posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram that included terms such as "electoral college," "filibuster" or "gerrymandering," for instance, were tagged as posts on "Voting Rights." "Campaign finance," "monopolies" and "lobbyists" fell under "Corporate Power."

Julian Castro, who served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, topped the list of candidates in the percentage of his policy posts that focused on voting rights (22 percent). Sen. Amy Klobuchar (20 percent) was second. For both candidates, voting rights was their top policy issue on social media, according to the analysis.

Warren was first among candidates in the percentage of policy posts mentioning "corporate power" — 30 percent — although "a significant portion" of those posts were solely on "her plan to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook," the Post explains.

Klobuchar (13 percent), Sen. Bernie Sanders (12 percent) and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (11 percent) were the other candidates whose percentages reached double digits on the issue of "corporate power."

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Open Government
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FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub

The struggle is real: FEC stalled on regulations for online political ads

The Federal Election Commission has once again punted on establishing rules for identifying who is sponsoring online political advertisements. Thursday marked the fourth consecutive meeting in which the topic fell to the wayside without a clear path forward.

FEC Chairwoman Ellen Weintraub revived debate on the topic in June when she introduced a proposal on how to regulate online political ads. In her proposal, she said the growing threat of misinformation meant that requiring transparency for political ads was "a small but necessary step."

Vice Chairman Matthew Petersen and Commissioner Caroline Hunter put forth their own proposal soon after Weintraub, but the commissioners have failed to find any middle ground. At Thursday's meeting, a decision on the agenda item was pushed off to a later date.

Weintraub's proposal says the funding source should be clearly visible on the face of the ad, with some allowance for abbreviations. But Petersen and Hunter want to allow more flexibility for tiny ads that cannot accommodate these disclaimers due to space.

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Open Government
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California's Supreme Court is expediting President Trump's challenge to a new state law that would require him to release five years of tax returns in order to get on the state ballot for the 2020 election.

California court expedites Trump challenge to new tax returns requirement

The California Supreme Court is fast-tracking its review of a challenge to a new law that would require President Trump to make public his tax returns in order to get on the state's ballot for the 2020 election.

A lawsuit seeking to block implementation of the law was filed August 6 by the California Republican Party against Secretary of State Alex Padilla. It claims the law violates California's constitution.

Two other challenges, one filed by Trump's personal lawyers, are pending in federal court.

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