Foreign election interference is among the most troublesome challenges confronting democracy now — and not just by America's adversaries who hack votes and spread disinformation. Federal law is written to prevent allies and enemies alike from spending foreign money to influence American politics. But the loopholes are ample and they've been exploited for decades.
The Center for American Progress, one of the country's most prominent progressive public policy advocacy groups, has stepped forward with a solution — albeit a lofty one. On Thursday it outlined an ambitious proposal to virtually eliminate spending on U.S. campaigns by businesses under even minimal foreign influence.
As with so much else on the democracy reform agenda, however, the odds are prohibitive that any legislation along the lines CAP wants will get through the current Congress. Such bills might get through the Democratic House but are doomed in the Republican Senate, especially given Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's disdain for regulating campaign finance.
The official start of congressional campaigns in North Carolina has been postponed indefinitely by court order, a sign the most important partisan gerrymandering battle in the country is not close to ending.
Instead of candidates filing their paperwork for the primaries starting Dec. 2, the big political news that day will be another round of arguments before the three judges in Charlotte supervising the latest redistricting in the state.
In announcing that new timetable Wednesday, the judges made clear they were not ready to accept the first draft of a new map produced last week by the Republicans who control the General Assembly.
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.
Organizer: Congressional Management Foundation
Many advocates wake up the morning after elections to discover that their long-standing champions for their cause have been sent packing, causing a scramble to cultivate new congressional proponents on the Hill. Fortunately, CMF has developed a sure-fire elixir for an advocate's election-year hangover. Participants in this program will learn about what matters to Congress, how elections can shift power in Congress, and five proven-effective "remedies" that citizen advocates can use to establish and strengthen new relationships with their Members of Congress.