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Research & Reports

Recent research and reports by Common Cause Education Fund.

How Lobbying and Political Influence By Broadband Gatekeepers Has Shaped The Digital Divide Report

A new report from Common Cause in partnership with the Communications Workers of America, “Broadband Gatekeepers: How ISP Lobbying and Political Influence Shapes the Digital Divide,” examines lobbying and political spending by the largest ISPs and their trade associations and how these activities have shaped the digital divide.

As a Matter of Fact: The Harms Caused by Election Disinformation Report

In America, whatever our background, color, or zip code, we value our freedom. Generation after generation has fought for the freedom to have a say in decisions that impact our lives—the freedom to participate fully in our country. But in recent years, a small faction has grown increasingly skilled at spreading lies about our elections, lies that targeted Black communities and other communities of color to suppress their votes, lies that fueled a deadly attack on our Capitol in January 2021 to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power, lies that threaten to suppress votes and undermine public confidence in future elections. This intentional use of false information to affect the participation of voters in elections is known as “election disinformation.”

Amplifying Small-Dollar Donors in the Citizens United Era

Citizen-funded elections lead to healthier democracies and offer a guide to all citizens who believe that democracy is out of balance. Common Cause has been leading the nonpartisan charge for healthier democracy for 50 years, working at the national level and on the ground, state by state. We demand a democracy that works for all of us, but we can only do this together. Join us.

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.