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On this episode of Democracy Is, we take a look at Money in Politics and how it affects our democracy. Understanding how money impacts our politics is essential in the fight for equity! How did we get to this current iteration of our system? How does money impact everyday voters? How much power do wealthy individuals and corporations really have over our elections? We will discuss all of these topics in the latest release from Democracy Is.

We speak with Noah Cole, a policy analyst who is authoring a report on public financing, and Colleen Echohawk, a Seattle mayoral candidate who ran her campaign using public financing systems. With a historic ballot measure appearing this November in Oakland, the time to talk about Money in Politics is now!

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Our Guests this Episode

Noah Cole is is a recent MPP graduate interested in civic engagement, racial equity, technology, and social impact.

He has five years of multi-sector experience in legal compliance at a large tech firm, project management at a community-based nonprofit, and internships in democracy reform, government accountability, and national politics. Noah hopes to use his skills in research, policy analysis, communications, and leadership to advance equity through progressive public policy.

Colleen Echohawk is a born organizer, change-maker, and leader with over twenty years’ experience championing Seattle’s Native and at-risk populations.

An enrolled member of the Kithehaki Band of the Pawnee Nation and a member of the Upper Athabascan people of Mentasta Lake, Colleen is proud to have called Seattle home for over two decades. She is a champion for change, igniting successful coalitions to bring about positive shifts in Seattle’s housing, homelessness, racial justice, sustainability, and public safety issues.

Colleen has sat on multiple boards, including the Seattle Foundation, KUOW (National Public Radio member station), Downtown Seattle Association, Pioneer Square Preservation Board, All-Home Coordinating Board, and was board chair at Red Eagle Soaring Native Youth Theatre.

Episode Details

Common Cause Resources

Continued Education

The following are our staff's recommendations if you'd like to continue learning about Money in Politics.


  • Corruption in America by Zephyr Teachout
  • Campaign Finance: What Everyone Needs to Know by Robert E. Mutch
  • The Campaign Finance Cases by Melvin I. Urofsky


  • Dark Money (2018) Directed by Kimberly Reed; Distributed by PBS

Other Resources

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