What is Common Cause?

We’re the original “citizens lobby,” founded in 1970, now a million strong with offices in 35 states and supporters in all 50. We promote honest, open, accountable government in Washington and in our state capitals.

Who runs Common Cause?

A National Governing Board, currently chaired by Robert Reich, that sets policy, and a president, Karen Hobert Flynn, who oversees our day-to-day operations. You can also browse our staff directory.

Who funds Common Cause?

Our members, mostly. We accept contributions from individuals, foundations and institutions. Our annual budget is about $10 million. Our financials are available online

Is Common Cause active in my state?

More than likely. We have 35 state offices and active volunteers pretty much everywhere. Learn more about Common Cause in your state.

How do I get involved?

Sign up to receive our email messages to make your voice heard in Washington DC and in state capitals. Visit us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. Check out our quarterly newsletter, and our look at federal legislation we’re following. See photos of recent events. You can also contribute online or by mail. We welcome your support.

You’re a non-profit? Does that mean my contribution is tax-deductible?

Donations to our educational arm, the Common Cause Education Fund, are fully deductible under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Common Cause is tax-exempt under another part of the code, Section 501 (c)(4), but donations (link) are taxable because we engage in lobbying.

What issues do you work on and how do you choose them?

We believe the corrupting power of big money in politics is the biggest threat to our democracy, so we’re focused on campaign finance reform, protecting and strengthening voting rights, promoting and enforcing strong ethical standards in government, and fostering strong, independent and accessible media. We regularly seek out the views of our members, which inform our staff and the National Governing Board as they determine our positions.

Do you endorse candidates?

Never! Common Cause is strictly non-partisan.

Are you liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican?

As a nonpartisan independent voice for change and as an organization committed to upholding the core values of American democracy, Common Cause does not endorse candidates for public office or engage in partisan political activity. We hold power accountable, no matter who holds power.

Where is Common Cause located?

Our national office is in Washington, D.C. You can also get in touch with Common Cause in your state.

What’s your history?

Common Cause was founded in 1970 by John Gardner, a Republican who had served in the Cabinet of President Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat. We were a prominent initially in efforts to end the Vietnam War and to lower the minimum voting age from 21 to 18. In Washington and states coast-to-coast, we’ve helped pass laws to limit the corrupting power of big money in politics and government, protect voting rights, strengthen ethics in government, and empower individual citizens. Click here for a detailed history.


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