Watergate doesn?t predict what will happen to Trump

trump-debateAs Special Counsel Robert Mueller continues to investigate possible Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential race,?there are distinct echoes of the Watergate scandal that cost Richard Nixon his presidency.

Last Monday?s indictments?of former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and protege Rick Gates ? along with disclosure that Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos confessed to lying to the FBI ? come after the president fired the FBI director and three key Trump associates failed to initially disclose interactions with Russians.

That?s led many to compare today?s investigation with Watergate.

However, there are no signs so far of two landmark aspects of Watergate that proved to be tipping points: White House attorney John Dean breaking ranks to deliver incriminating testimony and ?Deep Throat? source Mark Felt leaking otherwise secret FBI developments.

?Any time you have an issue, you look for a model or precedent ? and with the current investigation, there aren?t very many,? said Nixon biographer?Luke Nichter, explaining the frequent comparisons to Watergate. ?But we don?t even know if Trump is being investigated. Nixon was clearly being investigated.?

Raphael Sonenshein, who runs CSU Los Angeles? Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, also warns against drawing too many comparisons at this stage. At the same time, he?s among those who see the Mueller?s investigation picking up steam. …

Click here to read the full story from the Orange County Register

Sacramento ethics law getting long-due overhaul

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After 42 years of regulating the state?s political ethics, with countless updates and tweaks, the Political Reform Act is due for an overhaul ? and stakeholders are set to begin the process next week.

On Thursday, July 14, Fair Political Practices Commission Chair Jodi Remke and John Mayer, president and CEO of California Forward (a government and political reform advocacy group), will host a webinar to kick off?the first of two rounds of public participation to create a comprehensive overhaul of the act.

Incumbents and candidates complain of an overly complicated system. The FPPC?receives between 15,000-to-20,000 requests every year for advice from candidates and public officials.

Numerous legislative and voter-approved updates have left an ?overly complex, cumbersome and sometimes contradictory? law, Remke said.

?This process is designed to simplify and streamline the act without weakening it or losing any accountability,? Remke said.

Law students at UC Berkeley and UC Davis have also contributed to the process by reviewing the law and making recommendations to the FPPC. And?California Forward will help raise public awareness of the coalition?s efforts.

The Political Reform Act was passed in 1974, just two months before President Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal, with the protracted scandal highlighting the need for political ethics legislation.

The law created the FPPC and regulated campaign finance, among other things. The original ballot summary is here:

?Requires reports of receipts and expenditures in campaigns for state and local offices and ballot measures. Limits expenditures for statewide candidates and measures. Prohibits public officials from participating in governmental decisions affecting their ?financial interests.? Requires disclosure of certain assets and income by certain public officials. Requires ?Lobbyists? to register and file reports showing receipts and expenditures in lobbying activities. Creates fair political practices commission. Revises ballot pamphlet requirements. Provides criminal and civil sanctions for violations. Enacts and repeals statutes on other miscellaneous and above matters.?

This piece was originally published by CalWatchdog.com