Pell, Raimondo, Taveras agree to People’s Pledge

Pell, Raimondo, Taveras agree to People’s Pledge

Rhode Island’s Democratic primary election for governor will be the first time a People’s Pledge will be used to control outside anonymous advertising in a state-based political campaign, said Common Cause RI Executive Director John Marion, who first floated the idea and helped bring the three Democrats running for governor together to agree to it. [...]

John Marion, Common Cause: costs of voter ID outweighs benefits

John Marion, Common Cause: costs of voter ID outweighs benefits

Voter fraud, when it occurs, happens during registration and through absentee ballots, not at the polls, points out John Marion of Common Cause.  Money spent enforcing a worthless voter ID law cannot be spent to prevent real voter fraud, or to expand and improve our electoral process. Marion went on to explain that provisional ballots, [...]

Voter ID not the only election bill that deserves attention

Voter ID not the only election bill that deserves attention

Last night the Senate Committee on Judiciary heard a full agenda of election bills.  You’ll read a lot in the Projo and RI Future about the Voter ID repeal legislation Senator Gayle Goldin sponsored, and that deserves attention.  But there were a number of other really important pieces of legislation that are largely being ignored [...]

McCutcheon decision another reason to avoid Con Con

McCutcheon decision another reason to avoid Con Con

Yesterday’s Supreme Court McCutcheon decision certainly means that the distorting power of money over what’s left of American democracy is not going to abate any time soon. Given this, perhaps we should think twice before opening the “Pandora’s Box” of a Constitutional Convention here in Rhode Island. At the forum held recently at Bryant University, [...]

John Marion on the history and possible future of the RI Con Con

John Marion on the history and possible future of the RI Con Con

“I wish I could say, ‘Go read this book! There’s a great narrative of what happened in 1984-1986,’” says John Marion, Executive Director of Common Cause RI, “There isn’t a single volume that tells that story.” Instead, Marion gave this terrific talk at the opening of a forum sponsored by the Hassenfeld Institute for Public [...]

Robert Benson introduces himself as "Al" Benson in this public access TV show in which he interviews Bob Flanders about a history book he co-authored.

Who is Robert Benson, why does the ProJo let him lie to RI and what does Common Cause have to do with it?

Robert Benson is a frequent contributor to the Providence Journal op-ed pages. Almost every time he contributes, he writes about an anti-organized labor economic topic (see here, here, here, here and here among others). Sometimes when he writes he thinks public sector unions should be banned, as he did here: “Is it any wonder that [...]

Peoples’ Pledge update: ‘went well’ campaigns still ‘far apart on scope’

Peoples’ Pledge update: ‘went well’ campaigns still ‘far apart on scope’

Clay Pell, Gina Raimondo and Angel Taveras have so far largely agreed with one another as they stake out their campaigns to win the Democratic primary for governor. But not so much when it comes to a potential Peoples’ Pledge, according to John Marion, the executive director of Common Cause RI, who oversaw the two [...]

John Marion of Common Cause RI explains People’s Pledge

John Marion of Common Cause RI explains People’s Pledge

Democratic candidates for governor could meet Monday with Common Cause RI to hammer out the details of a People’s Pledge, said John Marion, executive director of the good government group who first suggested using the tool developed in Massachusetts to keep outside money from influencing local elections. Marion said in an interview yesterday that People’s [...]

People’s Pledge faces tough politics

People’s Pledge faces tough politics

“The love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” -First Epistle to Timothy, Chapter 6, Verse 10; King James Version So proclaims the KJV, and ponder that the famous part, “the love of money is the [...]

Raimondo suggests direct mail, canvassing be included in People’s Pledge

Raimondo suggests direct mail, canvassing be included in People’s Pledge

General Treasurer Gina Raimondo is not only interested in coming to the table with her fellow Democrats seeking to be governor and agree to a People’s Pledge, but she’s also upping the ante to include other campaign-related activities like opposition research and door-to-door canvassing. “Let’s keep all outside money off of the airwaves, out of [...]

(via Wikimedia Commons/Imperial War Museum)

Oops, I was wrong about the People’s Pledge’s viability!

So back in October 2013, just after Angel Taveras called on Gina Raimondo to sign the People’s Pledge, I pretty much wrote it off as not happening. (After I asked for it to happen in September) Quick up-to-speed: a People’s Pledge is a way to workaround the results of the Citizens United ruling. Candidates agree [...]

Maybe later, People’s Pledge

Maybe later, People’s Pledge

Yes, I was smiling when I read the news that Angel Taveras had called for a People’s Pledge in the RI Democratic Primary for Governor. Common Cause RI pointed to the study by Common Cause MA that the 2012 People’s Pledge for the race between Elizabeth Warren and Scott Brown reduced the amount of influence [...]

Paper ballot with straight party option overridden.

What’s really wrong with the master lever

Bob Plain has spent a lot of time in a back and forth with Ken Block about the issue of eliminating the straight-party option (a.k.a. master lever), even bringing in Speaker Gordon Fox to defend its place on the ballot. I’d like to move the debate away from questions of political motivation and toward some [...]

Greenwich Cove (Photo by Bob Plain)

Progress Report: 38 Studios Scoop; Localvore Recipes; Banksters vs. Liz Warren; Thanks, ALEC and Earned Media

It’s amazing some of the things we’re willing to believe … Jesus was born to a virgin, Thomas Jefferson thought all men were created equal, Reaganomics works and, the perhaps the biggest doozie of them all, that Rhode Island did its due diligence in assessing the 38 Studios deal. For anyone still hanging onto that [...]

Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig told the Common Cause annual dinner said it's not enough to reverse Citizens United, but it's the place to start.

Fundraising vs. Good Govt: Which Matters More?

Note the irony that while one prospective 2014 Democratic candidate for governor was making headlines for raising an almost unfair amount of money from corporate interests from outside of Rhode Island, the other prospective candidate was busy not making headlines for being honored by good government group Common Cause RI with its 2012 Excellence in [...]

ALEC Funds Brien’s Travel Costs to Annual Meeting

ALEC Funds Brien’s Travel Costs to Annual Meeting

Conservative Rep. Jon Brien, of Woonsocket, will be attending his first ALEC meeting as a member of the far right wing group’s board of directors when he travels to Charlotte, NC on Thursday for its annual Spring Task Force meeting where, he said, one of the orders of business will be “coming up with a [...]

Brien Joins ALEC Board as Group Comes Under Fire

Brien Joins ALEC Board as Group Comes Under Fire

Conservative House Democrat Jon Brien of Woonsocket is not only a card carrying member of ALEC, the right wing group backed by some of America’s most powerful corporations that writes model legislation for use in state houses around the country, but he’s also the lone Democrat on the group’s 17 member board of directors. “I [...]

Brien, Common Cause Spar over ALEC on Twitter

Brien, Common Cause Spar over ALEC on Twitter

Rep. Jon Brien is the local co-chair of ALEC, the pro-business political group that drafts model legislation that supporters, often elected members of state legislatures like Brien, propose at the local level. ALEC has come under fire as of late for authoring the Stand your Ground law in Florida that initially protected George Zimmerman from [...]

Mike Field, of the Attorney General's office, testifies at a hearing on a proposal to update Rhode Island's Access to Public Records Act in 2012. (Photo by Bob Plain)

Legislature Considers Better Public Records Act

Rhode Island’s public records law may get some much-needed revisions if a bill heard by the House Judiciary Committee last night becomes law. The proposal, introduced by Rep. Michael Marcello, D-Scituate, would be the first amendment to the Access to Public Records Act in 15 years. It would: decrease the amount of time a public [...]

RI’s DISCLOSE bill introduced!

RI’s DISCLOSE bill introduced!

Before leadership of RI’s legislative and executive branches jumped on board, there were the hardworking activists of Democracy Matters and Common Cause of Rhode Island working all fall to put together this legislation, designed to pull best practices from other states who have introduced similar reforms.  Congratulations on putting everything in place for an exciting [...]