My new article for Bloomberg BNA:
My new article for Bloomberg BNA:
My latest article beyond the paywall for Bloomberg BNA:
My latest article for Bloomberg BNA on a groundbreaking new multilateral tax treaty to fight tax evasion and implement a new global dispute resolution in over 60 countries, with the notable exception of the United States:
My final article for the Center for Responsive Politics is a deep dive into pro-Trump nonprofits and super PACs:
My new opinion piece on the Daily Caller in which I make the case that a jury composed of fellow citizens is the fairest method of safeguarding our freedom, promoting justice, and ultimately protecting democracy until a more nuanced understanding of how the current jury system—and the justice system as a whole—can ensure that the system continues to be responsive to the needs of society
This is an article I co-authored on the latest project I’ve working on at the Center for Responsive Politics:
- In Oklahoma, a dark money group tried to get the state’s GOP House speaker, T.W. Shannon, elected to the U.S. Senate in 2014. Though it claimed to be a social welfare nonprofit, Oklahomans for a Conservative Future spent most of its money that year on pro-Shannon political advocacy.
- Along the way, at least one of those running the group also worked for consulting firms paid by the Shannon campaign itself. And an affidavit given in connection with drug charges against OCF’s co-founder suggested the group may have been acting as an extension of Shannon’s campaign.
- OCF owned up to overspending on politics in a letter to the IRS — but told the agency not to worry, because in 2015 it made up for the transgression.
- Even if that kind of accounting were allowed — which it’s not, experts say — the group appears to have done little more since Shannon’s defeat than run ads made by a trade group of independent oil and gas producers.
- The link between the trade group and the nonprofit? Former Rep. J.C. Watts, lobbyist for the trade group and former employer of several of the nonprofit’s board members.
Read the full article on OpenSecrets.org: Nonprofit cops to too much politicking, sends IRS an IOU
My latest piece for Lawyerist:
My recent Initiativv blog post:
Ballot initiatives give voters a chance to chance to propose and create their own laws. These initiatives hold the power to change policy at the local level as well as at a state level. Ballot initiatives are a type of ballot measure that allow voters to directly propose and, by extension, enact laws. Initiatives do so by sidestepping the legislature, relying instead on the signatures and votes of citizens themselves to determine whether an idea becomes law.
Citizen-initiated ballot measures can be used by the general public to ignite constitutional or legislative reform by proposing, placing on the ballot, and voting on statutes or constitutional amendments in 24 states. Typically, ballot initiatives are placed on the ballot when a threshold number of signatures are gathered on a petition to express public support. After the signature threshold has been met, the measure is certified for the election and then presented to the public on a ballot so that all voters’ can directly choose whether or not the initiative should become law.
The ballot initiative is a useful vehicle for direct, fair, and representational democracy. Through the initiative process, all eligible voters can participate in decision-making instead of only a select few. In this way, ballot initiatives serve as a check on the “tyranny of the majority” by the playing field so no one group or individual has more influence because of status or other factors. This is why ballot initiatives can be an important tool for tackling issues that have not adequately been resolved through formal legislative channels.
When implemented as a tool of direct democracy in the context of greater reform efforts, ballot initiatives hold the potential to expand civic participation and promote the integrity of the democratic process. However, the ballot initiative process is not always so direct in implementation. All too often, a lack of access and education about the process excludes citizens from the ballot initiative process, depriving them of their rights to directly participate in the democratic process.
This is where technology comes into play.
The use of technology to increase accessibility to information about ballot initiatives as well as the ballot measure process itself can enhance the system’s responsiveness to the public’s interests. The right technology holds the capacity to level playing field through the empowerment of all citizens to actively participate in the democratic process regardless of disability, language barriers, and socioeconomic status.
A majority of the public supports changes to the ballot initiative system more accountable, accessible, and representative. We must begin cultivating more broad civic involvement, critical inquiry, and candid dialogue central to a more accessible, empowering, and sustainable democratic vision.
Want to learn more about the ballot initiative process and what Initiativv is doing to reform that process? Stay tuned.
My Commentary and Analysis for the Journal of American Diplomacy:
The advent of digital and information technologies poses a major challenge for governments to provide transparent, accessible, open access to public services. In response to this and other challenges brought to light by emerging technologies, a new network of governments have stepped up as world leaders paving the way for digital government.