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Common Cause has a long and successful history in the courtroom.

Americans are doing what they can to stand up to the onslaught of threats to our fundamental rights, and Common Cause has been a leader and innovator on that front for 50 years. Defending democracy is at the core of what we do.


Our lawsuits fight for fairness, transparency, equality, accountability, participation, opportunity and freedom. Rooted in challenging terrible state laws aimed to protect politicians who manipulate voting maps, pursuing cases that hold wealthy special interests accountable, and fighting for transparency and accountability. We use litigation to defend and enforce commonsense campaign finance and voting rights laws, and to fight gerrymandering, voter suppression and other anti-democratic public policies. Common Cause’s litigation highlights that many of our laws, in origin and as they’ve evolved, are tools of systemic oppression that we must rid ourselves of completely.

We have the expertise and resources to take on these fights — and win. Our team of policy experts, attorneys and partners are prepared to confront the wide-ranging attacks on democracy. Our presence of litigators and lobbyists on the ground across states has proven to be effective.

Common Cause is shaping a 21st-century democracy that better reflects the diverse ideas and people that make us stronger.  Here are some of the ways Common Cause utilizes litigation to protect our democracy:

Our Lawsuit to End Gerrymandering

Whether they favor Democrats or Republicans, gerrymanders cheat voters.

RUCHO V. COMMON CAUSE

In our democracy, voters should choose who holds office to represent them. But gerrymandering flips that on its head — letting politicians manipulate their legislative districts so they can pick and choose their own voters. Common Cause has fought to change this.

Our Lawsuit To Enforce Campaign Finance Laws

“It is critically important that the soft money ban be enforced, or outside groups founded by candidates will become a commonplace means to evade contribution limits and disclosure requirements.” –Paul S. Ryan, VP of Policy and Litigation with Common Cause

COMMON CAUSE V. OUR REVOLUTION

On January 22, 2020, Common Cause filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging reason to believe that Our Revolution, a nonprofit political organization established by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in 2016 and now supporting his 2020 presidential campaign, violated the federal ‘soft money’ ban. The complaint documents that Our Revolution has violated federal campaign finance laws by soliciting contributions explicitly to elect Sanders president, receiving contributions far in excess of the applicable $5,000 contribution limit and spending funds in connection with federal elections, including current voter mobilization efforts supporting Sanders in Iowa.

Common Cause v. Trump & Cohen (Stormy Daniels)

Common Cause filed a complaint with the Department of Justice and a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging reason to believe that the payment of $130,000 from Essential Consultants LLC to Ms. Daniels was an unreported and illegal in-kind contribution to the Trump campaign because the payment was for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential general election and was made in coordination with the campaign via Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen. At that time, the source of the $130,000 was unknown–and Common Cause named both the Trump Organization and “John Doe” as possible sources.

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