Money in Politics

Campaign finance reform has traditionally been a hallmark issue for Common Cause, which believes that the undue influence of big money in politics undermines the public’s interest. The organization has fought successfully over the years for major national reforms that include the creation of the presidential public finance system after Watergate and the ban on soft money to the national political parties in 2002.

Our current focus is on fundamentally changing the way America pays for elections, from top to bottom, by adopting full public financing of campaigns. Through coalition building, outreach, public education, and research at both the national and state levels, Common Cause is working to:


Clean Elections. Common Cause is focused on the ultimate reform goal of ‘Clean Elections, ‘ a voluntary system of publicly funded political campaigns at the federal and state levels. 


Clean Elections give citizens a greater voice in their government, while greatly reducing the undue influence of special interest money in politics. Candidates who demonstrate a certain level of public support by collecting small donations from voters in their districts can receive public money to run their campaigns, if they agree to spending limits and to accept only small contributions from individuals. Clean Elections-style reforms in Maine, Arizona, New Mexico, Connecticut, North Carolina, and New Jersey have proven effective and popular with voters and candidates alike.

Common Cause is at the forefront of a successful effort to put public financing of congressional campaigns back on the national agenda. Using the momentum of congressional scandals, we have partnered with Public Campaign to lead a strong citizen coalition pushing for ‘Fair Elections ‘ for Congress, while continuing to focus on key state efforts.


Recent victories include: