Common Cause Gets New Leader

Karen Hobert Flynn is the new president of Common Cause, the Washington D.C.-based non-partisan government watchdog group. Hobert Flynn has been with the organization for more than half of its 46-year history and is the first president to have served as a state-level director for the organization.

She was unanimously selected for the position by Common Cause’s National Governing Board, according to a release.

Hobert Flynn replaces Miles Rapoport, who is stepping down from the role of president, but will serve as a senior adviser through September to facilitate a smooth transition. “Karen Hobert Flynn is the perfect choice, as Common Cause’s work has never been more important, and the stakes for our democracy have never been higher,” Rapoport said in the release.

Rapoport replaced Common Cause CEO Bob Edgar who died suddenly at age 69 in 2013.

“What excites me the most about this moment is that Americans are engaging in democracy reform in growing numbers and that the generation just coming into awareness of their political power, the New American Majority — more diverse, less ideological, and more engaged — is prioritizing democracy reform,” Hobert Flynn said.

Hobert Flynn began her career at Common Cause in 1985. She has held the roles of chair of Common Cause Connecticut, vice president of state operations and, most recently, senior vice president for strategy and programs. As chair of Common Cause Connecticut, Hobert Flynn helped architect the state’s Citizens’ Election Program geared toward small-dollar donations driving state politics. Now in it’s fifth election cycle, the program has a 74-percent participation rate among candidates.

Common Cause leadership has focused on reducing barriers in the democratic process since the organization was founded in 1970. This work has included promoting small-dollar-donor-based campaign finance systems, online and automatic voter registration and impartial citizen redistricting commissions. Common Cause leaders’ objectives have included the passing of the 26th Amendment to lower the voting age to 18 and securing state disclosure laws in response to Citizens United.

“The next generation seems to know what our founder John Gardner knew, that people are the only true power in our democracy, but we must organize to exercise that power,” Hobert Flynn said.