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Meet Karen…

Karen Hobert Flynn, a democracy reform activist and leader for more than three decades, including 25-plus years on staff and in state and national leadership positions with Common Cause, is the organization’s ninth president.

As Senior Vice President for Programs and Strategy, Karen has led the program and development of Common Cause from 2012- 2016. During that time, she oversaw the strategy and planning for the organization and raised significant resources to support Common Cause’s national and state efforts to curb the outsized influence of big money in politics and to protect voting rights. She launched Common Cause’s campaign to expose and stop the dangerous movement in the states for a constitutional convention that would put in jeopardy every constitutional right or protection currently available to American citizens. She oversaw a dramatic expansion of Common Cause’s digital presence, bringing in hundreds of thousands of new members and supporters. From 2013-2014 Karen also served as Interim President of Common Cause after the sudden passing of Common Cause president Bob Edgar, guiding the organization through an unexpected transition.

As Vice President of States from 2007 – 2012, Karen expanded Common Cause’s state presence to include Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Oregon, Ohio, Florida, Vermont and Hawaii.

Under her leadership of Common Cause in Connecticut Karen secured one of the strongest state campaign finance laws in the country, including a comprehensive small-dollar public financing grants program for statewide and legislative offices, banning state contractor political giving and strict limits on political giving by lobbyists. She helped pass numerous ethics laws, including a gift-and-meal limit bill, a promotional advertising limit bill, and strong disclosure and coordination measures.

Karen writes and speaks frequently on issues regarding our democracy, including money in politics, voting rights and ethics for elected officials. Karen has been quoted in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The American Prospect, The Nation, The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, Salon, MSNBC, The Hartford Courant, The Connecticut Mirror, The Center for Public Integrity, Common Dreams, The Richmond Times Dispatch and her writings have been published in US News & World Report, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, among other publications.

Karen also serves as the co-chair of the Democracy Initiative and is on the board of Democracy21.

Area(s) of Expertise
  • Ethics & Accountability
  • Gerrymandering & Representation
  • Money & Influence
  • Voting & Elections
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