Common Cause Welcomes Veteran Democracy Reform Attorney Paul Seamus Ryan as Vice President of Policy and Litigation

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  • David Vance

Common Cause is pleased to announce that veteran campaign finance attorney Paul Seamus Ryan will join Common Cause as Vice President for Policy and Litigation in late October. Mr. Ryan will lead Common Cause’s national efforts to reduce barriers to a more representative democracy, including obstacles to full participation like money in politics, gerrymandering, and vote suppression, guiding public policy campaigns and litigation. He will also support efforts for the organization’s 35 state operations working to create a 21st Century democracy that works for everyone.

Mr. Ryan has spent the last 12 years at the Campaign Legal Center where he has served as deputy executive director. He has specialized in campaign finance, ethics, and election law for more than 15 years and litigated campaign finance issues before federal and state courts throughout the United States.  

“Paul’s expertise is a perfect fit for the Common Cause team. He has one of the best legal minds working to make sure our democracy resolves problems with the common good in mind, not wealthy special interests or partisans seeking power,” said Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn. “Paul joins Common Cause at a moment of tremendous resurgence in public interest about the health of our democracy as demonstrated in public opinion surveys and our own growth, now 625,000 supporters strong.”

“Common Cause is rooted in the principles of open and transparent government that works for the people, and these roots have made it a good government icon,” said Ryan. “I’m incredibly excited about Common Cause’s future and Karen’s vision for broadening the democracy movement to more fully include and empower women, communities of color and all other underrepresented communities. Under Karen’s leadership, Common Cause will enable generations to come to hold power accountable to the people.”

Mr. Ryan has testified as an expert on election law before Congress and regularly represented the Campaign Legal Center before the Federal Election Commission. He has testified before state and municipal legislative bodies and ethics agencies, and lectures at universities around the nation. Mr. Ryan also regularly provides consultation and assistance to elected officials, government agency staff and grassroots activists regarding campaign finance and other election policy development. 

Mr. Ryan has published extensively on the subject of election law in journals including the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Harvard Journal on Legislation. From 1999 to 2004 he served as political reform project director at the Center for Governmental Studies in Los Angeles. 

He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law’s Program in Public Interest Law and Policy (2001) and the University of Montana (1998), and is admitted to practice law in the District of Columbia, the State of California, the Supreme Court of the United States, the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.