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Research & Reports

Recent research and reports by Common Cause Education Fund.


Powershift: How People Can Take on the NRA

Fixing our gun violence problem will require fixing our democracy — but together, ordinary people can take on the gun lobby and win.

Putin, Trump and Democracy's Slipperly Slope to Oligarchy

The Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election provides a window into the vulnerabilities in America’s democratic institutions. A year after Trump’s upset victory, as a special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s activity yields its first indictment and conviction, it’s clear that democracy in America still has vulnerabilities. This report examines some of those vulnerabilities, along with the challenges of and the progress made toward addressing them.

The Art of the Lie: Trump’s Historic First Year Failure on Government Integrity and Accountability Issues

American democracy is resilient. It has withstood attacks from enemies, both foreign and domestic, for more than two centuries. But never has the United States been led by a president who has so flagrantly lied and so incessantly debased our democratic values and our institutions of self-government as President Donald J. Trump. This report sets forth twenty examples that demonstrate President Trump’s historic first year failure on issues of government integrity, transparency, and accountability.

State of the Swamp: Ethics in President Trump’s First Hundred Days

Donald Trump’s administration has thrown out longstanding ethical norms, put private interests before the public interest, and opened unprecedented opportunities for government officials to enrich themselves at taxpayer expense. This report examines a critical part of that record: the ethics of President Trump, his family, and his administration.

Flawed from the Start: The Presidential Commission on Election Integrity

Written before it was disbanded, this report demonstrates that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was been flawed from the start. It was premised on false claims about widespread voter fraud. Its membership lacks the ideological balance of previous, successful presidential commissions that addressed election administration.

Secret Ballot at Risk

The right to cast a secret ballot in a public election is a core value in the United States’ system of self-governance. Secrecy and privacy in elections guard against coercion and are essential to integrity in the electoral process. Secrecy of the ballot is guaranteed in state constitutions and statutes nationwide. However, as states permit the marking and transmitting of marked ballots over the Internet, the right to a secret ballot is eroded and the integrity of our elections is put at risk. This report examines state laws regarding the right to a secret ballot and the ways in which states are asking voters to waive that right.

The Dangerous Path: Big Money's Plan to Shred the Constituiton

This report sounds the alarm about a dangerous proposal bubbling up in state legislatures throughout the country. The threat is a constitutional convention, convened on the petitions of at least 34 state legislatures as specified under an Article V of the Constitution and empowered to rewrite or propose new amendments to that document. Its advocates span the ideological spectrum, including right-of-center supporters of new limits on federal power, from a constitutional requirement that the federal budget be balanced, to backers on the left of a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, a ruling that reversed decades of well-settled law limiting corporate political spending. Common Cause strongly opposes an Article V convention, even as we strongly support a constitutional amendment to reverse Citizens United. We oppose a constitutional convention because we believe there is too much legal ambiguity that leads to too great a risk that it could be hijacked by wealthy special interests pushing a radical agenda that poses a very real threat to American democracy.