Common Cause NewYork

About Us

Common Cause is a nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization founded in 1970 by John Gardner as a vehicle for citizens to make their voices heard in the political process and to hold their elected leaders accountable to the public interest.  Now with nearly 400,000 members and supporters and 36 state organizations, Common Cause remains committed to honest, open and accountable government, as well as encouraging citizen participation in democracy.

Common Cause New York is the statewide New York chapter of Common Cause. We are dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy, reinventing an open, honest, and accountable government that empowers ordinary people to make their voices heard. We work to:

  • Strengthen public participation and faith in our institutions of government;
  • Ensure that government and the political process serve the public interest, rather than special interests;
  • Curb the excessive influence of money on government policy and elections;
  • Promote fair and honest elections and high ethical standards for government officials

Our Team

Susan Lerner, the Executive Director of Common Cause New York, has been an activist for over 30 years. She speaks and writes extensively on redistricting, ethics, and campaign finance reform. Currently, she is a founding member of a new coalition, NY Women Vote, to educate and mobilize women to participate in the democratic process. She is a member of the board of the Center for Traditional Music and Dance and is on the Advisory Board for

Prior to joining Common Cause/NY, Susan was the executive director of the California Clean Money Campaign. She served as a member of the Steering Committee of the Commonwealth Club's Voices of Reform Project and on the Board of Trustees of the California State Summer School for the Arts. She founded and chaired the Committee for Judicial Independence, a grassroots organization dedicated to educating and activating Americans to the importance of an independent federal judiciary, and led a statewide coalition of groups active on federal judicial nominations.

For almost 20 years, Susan was a trial lawyer in Los Angeles specializing in complex commercial litigation and intellectual property. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and NYU School of Law who currently lives in Brooklyn.

Meet the rest of the Team.

Our Funding

Common Cause is financed, in large part, by the dues and contributions of our individual members. Because we are a 501(c)(4) lobbying organization, such contributions to Common Cause are not tax deductible. The Common Cause Education Fund, our 501(c)(3) affiliate, conducts research, education, and outreach activities and is supported by foundation grants and tax-deductible contributions from individuals and institutions. To see the breakdown of income received by Common Cause/NY click here.

Contact Us

Common Cause New York

74 Trinity Place, Suite 901
New York, NY 10006

Phone: 212-691-6421

Fax: 212-807-1809

Email: nyoffice (at) commoncause (dot) org


More than Three Decades of Holding Power Accountable

Common Cause/New York is in the forefront of the movement for independent redistricting, campaign finance and ethics reform, corporate accountability and elections that are honest, inclusive and verifiable.

In 2012:

Our Citizens Redistricting Commission drew the only set of fair, non-partisan redistricting maps for all of New York State. Our maps are praised by virtually every editorial board. The new Congressional maps are based, in large part, on Common Cause/NY suggestions.

We successfully persuaded Governor Cuomo to loosen the rules regarding affidavit ballots, so that voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy could vote anywhere in the state.

Common Cause/NY spearheaded development of PollWatchUSA, a mobile app that allows voters to report poll place problems in real time through their cell phones.

Click here to learn more.

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Volunteer With Us

Please help us hold power accountable in New York by signing up to volunteer. We have many opportunities and can accommodate flexible schedules. Let us know how you'd like to get involved!

Click here to sign up.


Common Cause/NY offers internships during the spring and fall semesters as well at over the summer. Click here for our latest posting

Common Cause National Jobs

 Click here for open positions from Common Cause National

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