Novelist Richard North Patterson to lead Common Cause’s national governing board

Richard North Patterson, a best-selling novelist and former trial attorney who served as liaison to the Watergate Special Prosecutor for the Securities and Exchange Commission, was unanimously voted chairman of the Common Cause National Governing Board, the organization announced Tuesday.

Patterson, who served as vice chairman of Common Cause’s board since 2002, replaces Derek Bok, former president of Harvard University, who stepped down from the Common Cause board earlier this year to return as interim president at Harvard. Patterson’s predecessors also include the late John Gardner, the founder of Common Cause who served as secretary of Health Education and Welfare under President Lyndon Johnson, and the late Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor who refused to accept President Nixon’s limits on the Watergate investigation.

“I am honored to follow three outstanding Americans as chairman of Common Cause,” Patterson said. “At a time of great and often bitter partisanship in this country, Common Cause is more committed than ever to its non-partisan agenda, to carving out space to solve some of our biggest and most pervasive problems and helping citizens make their voices heard.

“Common Cause is fortunate indeed to have the dedication, expertise and prominence that Ric Patterson brings to our board,” said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. “Anyone who has ever read one of Ric’s books knows that he understands the many complex challenges we face as a society. Ric will bring to Common Cause that same grasp of the challenges facing our democracy.” Patterson’s books deal with some of the hottest political issues of the day, including gun control, the death penalty, abortion and even campaign finance reform.

Patterson also served as an assistant attorney general in Ohio; a trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington, DC and San Francisco; and a partner in the San Francisco office of Bingham-McCutchen. He has served on the boards of the Family Violence Prevention Fund, the National Partnership for Women and Families, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Patterson joined Common Cause’s board in 2000. He lives on Martha’s Vineyard and in San Francisco. He is the author of 13 best-selling novels, including Balance of Power, Protect and Defend, Conviction, Degree of Guilt and his forthcoming novel, Exile, which concerns the Israeli-Palestinian crisis and the geo-politics of the Middle East.