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Government Ethics
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Final regional bracket reaches the Final Four

Two mini upsets in the Elite Eight created a couple of mismatched pairings in the Final Four of the Democracy Madness "Best of the Rest" division.

Always using paper ballots (No. 1), the top priority of election security experts, is taking on the concept of creating an ethics code for the Supreme Court (No. 5). The fifth seed destroyed the idea of statehood for Washington (No. 4) in the last round.

Could Congress' constant dysfunction have voters thinking it's a lost cause? The legislative branch had two chances to make it to the semifinals of this bracket, but both increasing Congress' capacity (No. 3) and having members spend more time on Capitol Hill (No. 7) got knocked out.

Instead the second seed, using federal funds for elections, will take on the sixth seed, increasing civics education.

Voting closes Tuesday evening, so make your choices now.


Big Picture
by designing makes me more alive/Getty Image

'Best of the Rest:' Democracy Madness reaches the draw's final quarter

Over the past six week, readers of The Fulcrum have selected their top voting rights, election administration and money in politics reforms. Now it's time to kick off the final "region" in our Democracy Madness tournament.

We're calling it the "Best of the Rest," and we're inviting you to vote on a final group of 16 ideas for fixing the problems with our democracy's fairness and functionality. They range from proposals for enhancing election security to bolstering government ethics rules, and from the promotion of civic education to statehood for Washington, D.C.

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Government Ethics
True
Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Proving beyond a reasonable doubt that what Sen. Richard Burr and others heard was "insider" information could be very difficult, writes Brand.

Why prosecuting senators for trading on Covid would be so tough

Brand, director of Penn State Law School's Washington internship program, was general counsel of the U.S. House from 1976 to 1983 and for decades a prominent public corruption defense attorney.

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Big Picture
Nilmini Rubin

"The political foundations of the United States require maintenance and cannot be taken for granted," said Nilmini Rubin, who is leading the Fix the System coalition.

New coalition will push democracy reforms targeted to center and right

Six of the most influential democracy reform groups are at the core of a new coalition, dubbed Fix the System, with the goal of putting more conservative and corporate muscle behind a cause that's generally dominated by progressives.

The effort comes at a time when many in the good governance movement worry their efforts are too diffuse and disconnected, and tilted too far left at a time of divided government. The hope is that, during a time of pandemic fear and economic distress, political polarization will ease enough to permit some good governance changes to muster bipartisan support.

The alliance has been in the works for months but was formally unveiled this week, along with its first public effort: getting Congress to include money to make voting easier and safer this year in the nearly $2 trillion coronavirus stabilization package.

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