Government Accountability

Government Accountability


Common Cause is dedicated to making government open and accountable. Our founder, John Gardner, said "We want public officials to have literally millions of American citizens looking over their shoulders at every move they make." Since we first started "looking over shoulders" in 1970, Common Cause and our activists have been at the forefront of ensuring that government officials are acting in the public interest, not for their own personal benefit or for the benefit of powerful and influential special interest.

Common Cause has worked to shine a bright light on public officials and lobbyists who prefer to work behind closed doors and to insist that government officials are held to the highest standards of conduct.

Fix the Filibuster

The Senate’s filibuster rule was designed to encourage full and careful debate, preventing the majority from steamrolling bills into law. In practice, the rule allows a minority – just 41 of the 100 senators -- to stifle debate, not just slowing down the majority but blocking it altogether.
In November 2013, senators agreed to end filibusters of most presidential nominations. The 60-vote requirement remains in place for legislation and for Supreme Court nominees however, and Common Cause continues to pursue a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the filibuster rule.

Our case, now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, asks an order compelling the Senate to adopt rules that conform to the Constitution's requirement that it operate under the principle of majority rule.


Whistleblower Protection

Honest insiders who risk their careers to blow the whistle on wrongdoing are true heroes of democracy. We are working to strengthen protections for whistleblowers and help people feel safe coming forward with information that protects the public from waste, fraud, and abuse.


Supreme Conflict

In Congress, at the Supreme Court and at the Department of Justice, Common Cause is pressing for new laws and procedures to make Supreme Court justices live by the same code of ethics that covers other federal judges. While federal law sets broad ethical guidelines for judges, the federal judiciary's Code of Ethics and the specific rules it includes for most other judges do not apply to the Supreme Court. As a result, the justices seem to have an ethical immunity that Common Cause believes is unhealthy for our system of justice.