Common Cause

ALEC Threatens Legal Action Against Common Cause, League of Conservation Voters
April 7, 2015

Facing a loss of high-profile corporate sponsors, a conservative state-level policy group—the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)—threatened action in recent weeks against activist groups that accuse it of denying climate change. Attorneys for ALEC sent letters to Common Cause and the League of Conservation Voters asking them to immediately “cease making false statements” and “remove all false or misleading material” suggesting that ALEC does not believe in global warming.

IU Philanthropy Alumnus Joins White House Staff
March 6, 2015

Dave Wilkinson, a former Jane Addams Fellow at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, has been named director of the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation. Under Wilkinson's leadership the Office will be focused on strengthening communities and enabling upward economic mobility by finding and growing approaches that work best for communities in need, according to a White House announcement of the appointment.

N.Y. to Seek Nonprofit Political Spending Reports
December 13, 2012

The New York attorney general's office has proposed regulations to require that nonprofits annually disclose their political spending on state and local races starting next year. The proposal, subject to hearings and public comment through March 6, would require most tax-exempt groups registered in New York, including so-called "social welfare organizations," to report the percentage of expenditures on "electioneering activities."

Those include advertisements or communications calling for the election or defeat of a candidate, ballot question or party, or those that depict or clearly identify them within 180 days of an election.

States Crack Down on Campaigning Nonprofits
November 30, 2012

Tax-exempt advocacy groups that played an aggressive role in this year's election are coming under increasing scrutiny from state regulators, who are cracking down on organizations seeking to engage in campaigns without revealing their financial backers. The pressure in states with stringent campaign finance rules contrasts sharply with the federal level, where nonprofits that spent hundreds of millions of dollars to influence races this year have not been required to disclose their donors.

New N.Y. Ethics Rule Will Make Some Donors’ Names Public
November 21, 2012

New York State’s ethics commission will require political-advocacy and other groups to make public the names of donors who give them more than $5,000, under a regulation tentatively approved on Tuesday. But a new amendment incorporated into the regulation appears to diminish its impact. Under the changes, the groups typically would not have to report all the money their donors give, only an unspecified portion determined by a complicated formula.

Americans for Responsible Leadership Releases Names of Contributors
November 6, 2012

An Arizona nonprofit at the center of a legal battle over secret political contributions released on Monday morning the identity of its contributors, which it had been fighting tooth and nail to keep secret. But the disclosure did little to shed light on who was behind the $11 million donation to a California campaign fund. The Arizona group, Americans for Responsible Leadership, identified its contributors only as other nonprofits.

Lawmakers Mix Work with Fundraising in Sacramento
May 1, 2012

On almost any given weekday when the Legislature is in town, restaurants, bars and nightclubs near the Capitol play host to campaign fundraisers for lawmakers, with some places holding multiple, even simultaneous, events throughout the day.

Watchdogs Call on Presidential Campaigns to Name Big Fundraisers
March 14, 2012

Nine government watchdog groups called on the 2012 presidential candidates to lift the veil of secrecy that shrouds their biggest fundraisers, the so-called "bundlers" who use their connections to steer millions of dollars from well-heeled donors to the campaigns of their choice.

In letters sent to President Obama and Republican candidates Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, the organizations asked that the campaigns disclose specific information about their major bundlers, identifying them by name and stating the precise amounts they raise.