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Meet Stephen…

Stephen leverages his experience in the government and nonprofit sectors to advance Common Cause’s mission of open, honest, and accountable government that works for the public interest.

Stephen served most recently as the Senior Elections Counsel to the Committee on House Administration in the U.S. House of Representatives, which has jurisdiction over federal elections. As the senior aide to its Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, he advised her and Committee Members on all matters of election law, including campaign finance, election administration, election security, voting rights, contested elections, and oversight of the Federal Election Commission and Election Assistance Commission. He played a key role in House passage of H.R. 1 (the For the People Act to reduce the undue influence of money in politics, bolster the right to vote, and strengthen ethics laws), as well as bills that passed the House to combat foreign interference in elections (the SHIELD Act), strengthen election security (the SAFE Act), and address voting during the coronavirus pandemic (the election components of the Heroes Act).

Stephen previously served as Special Counsel to former FEC Chair and Commissioner Ann Ravel at the Federal Election Commission. He advised her on enforcement actions, advisory opinions, and policy decisions, as well as management of the agency and public engagement. He also was a litigation associate at Goodwin Procter LLP, and earlier in his career worked on racketeering, organized crime, and white collar investigations as a trial preparation assistant in the Rackets Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. He also served as a law clerk in the office of former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley. He previously held other roles at Common Cause, including Senior Policy Counsel and Legal Director, and Chief of Strategy and External Affairs, where he helped lead strategy, advocacy, and policy.

He has testified in Congress and other governmental bodies about democracy issues. He has written several reports utilized by policymakers and cited by national media outlets, including Bullies at the Ballot Box (co-published with Dēmos, to examine voter intimidation and challenge laws); The New Nullification at Work (examining Senate obstruction and the need for filibuster reform); and Did We Fix That? (analyzing implementation of the Presidential Commission on Election Administration’s recommendations). His writing has appeared in Politico, NBC News, Salon, Huffington Post, USA Today, and The Hill.

He has appeared widely on television and radio, including 60 Minutes; C-SPAN’s Washington Journal; NPR’s All Things Considered; On Point; 1A; and multiple shows on MSNBC and CNN including The Beat with Ari Melber; Melissa Harris-Perry; Up with Steve Kornacki; Politics Nation; and The Lead. He has been quoted by The New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Politico, The Atlantic, Vogue, and other outlets.

Stephen received his B.A. from Haverford College and his J.D. cum laude from Boston College Law School, where he was Editor-in-Chief of the Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice. He is a member of the District of Columbia and Massachusetts bars.

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Herbert Meisner

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