Money in Politics

Campaign Finance Reform
A New Era
Campaign Finance Reform

Read our 2009 report, "Campaign Finance Reform: A New Era," which lays out the action steps to end pay-to-play politics by eliminating the dominant role of large campaign contributors, amplifying the voice of small donors, increasing transparency in the way campaigns are funded, and adding teeth to enforcement.

The problem is not so much the amount we spend on political campaigns—columnist George Will likes to remind us that we spend more on potato chips each year—as it is who pays for them, what they get in return, and how that distorts public policy and spending priorities. Keeping our elected officials dependent on the very same wealthy special interests they are supposed to regulate undermines public confidence in their government and its ability to tackle the tough issues that face the nation.

Presidential Public Financing
Citizen-Funded Presidential Campaigns

The presidential public finance system has become out of sync with modern presidential campaigns, leaving the incentives to opt into the system too weak for most candidates. It's time to reboot the system.

"Clean Elections" in the States
Changing the Way America Pays for Elections

Clean Elections give citizens a greater voice in their government, while greatly reducing the undue influence of special interest money in politics.  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.

Recent Common Cause-backed victories include:

  • New Mexico enacted Clean Elections for judicial races, and Albuquerque did it for municipal races.
  • New Jersey improved and reauthorized its Clean Elections pilot project for a handful of legislative races.
  • North Carolina passed a Clean Elections pilot project for down-ticket statewide offices.


Other Campaign Finance Reforms
Reducing the Influence of Big Money