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The State of Reform
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Download Unite America's free report analyzing the impact of four key political reforms.

The story behind the indictment of Ohio Speaker Larry Householder is "just another normal tale about the sway cash has over politics in recent decades," writes Jeff Clements.

Bribery — or business as usual in our dysfunctional political system

Clements is the president of American Promise, which advocates for amending the Constitution to allow more federal and state regulation of money in politics. He was previously an assistant Massachusetts attorney general.

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New longshot bid tries to persuade Supreme Court to rein in super PACs

Sixteen states, a half-dozen progressive senators and a collection of campaign finance reform experts have launched an uphill campaign to persuade the Supreme Court to close down the nation's super PACs.

They filed briefs Wednesday asking the court to consider a fresh challenge to a central aspect of campaign finance law: A federal appeals court ruling from a decade ago that ended contribution and spending limits, but not disclosure requirements, for independent political groups that want to elect or defeat candidates — thus creating super PACs.

There is no guarantee the justices will decide to take the case after it reconvenes this fall, however. And even if they do, the court's reliably conservative majority and string of precedents promoting the deregulation of campaign finance suggest that victory for reformers is a longshot.

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Balance of Power
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Democracy reform advocates sent a letter to those assembling former Vice President Joe Biden's platform, asking them to put reform proposals front and center.

Democracy reform groups to Biden: Don't you forget about us

Democracy reform advocates have gone public with a concern they've been harboring privately for months: Joe Biden and the Democrats are not making fix-the-system proposals a big enough part of their campaign.

A coalition of 29 groups pressed the party's platform committee on Monday "to adopt a sweeping pro-democracy set of reforms, and make their passage and implementation a top priority in 2021."

Although Biden is viewed as a reliable supporter of items on the group's agenda — expanding voting rights, curbing money's sway over campaigns, bolstering government ethics and calibrating the balance of power — the former vice president is seen by advocacy groups as giving such desires insufficient notice. With the campaign now galvanized by the coronavirus pandemic and its crippling of the economy, the ability of other issues to break through could prove extremely difficult.

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Big Picture
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People fill out voter registration forms at a memorial site for George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Confronting the intersection of American democracy and American racism

Ballou-Aares is the CEO and Petrow-Cohen is an impact associate at the The Leadership Now Project,, a membership group of mostly business leaders that invests in nonprofits and candidates that "advance a modern, effective democracy."
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