Common Cause Communications Director Mary Boyle emailed me this response to my post criticizing her group for refusing to ask McCain to obey the law.
After reading your rant about what you describe as Common Cause's "remarkable legacy of failure," my first reaction is to suggest that you might want to talk to your doctor about upping your meds.
Most of your post seems to reflect a basic disagreement over whether Common Cause should be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party, or of the progressive movement, or of the lefty blogosphere. We were founded by John Gardner, a Republican who served in the Johnson administration, and we have always been proud of our bipartisanship and independence. We do not believe that either major political party is free from corruption or has a monopoly on good government as a political issue. We believe Americans want a change away from partisan gridlock.
We are proud to have Jim Leach as our new board chairman. This is a man who, while in Congress, stayed away from partisan confrontations and concentrated on working in a bipartisan manner on the process issues that define Common Cause. He is an environmentalist who lost his 2006 race in part because he refused to allow anti-gay literature the National Republican Congressional Committee wanted to distribute.
At a minimum, you cannot possibly expect to be taken seriously when you accuse us of helping John McCain "evade responsibility for the Keating 5 scandal" when Common Cause filed the original ethics compliant against the Keating 5. Common Cause has limited resources, and the fact that we have not unleashed a legal and public relations attack on every politician you happen to find offensive (Joe Lieberman, Al Wynn, John McCain, etc.) does not make us prisoners of a blind faith in non-partisanship. In fact, we often -- but not always -- find ourselves as coalition partners with some of the very groups who meet with your approval, such as MoveOn. We spent a great deal of time, energy, and money working to draw public attention to the DeLay scandal, among others, and if you are going to call us "losers" it would be nice if you showed some familiarity with the range of projects we have taken on in recent years.
As for our organization "remaining silent" during the "latest ridiculous episode," apparently referring to McCain and public financing, I would direct you to work we did in Iowa and New Hampshire, working with dozens of activists to get the candidates to sign a pledge committing to support full public financing for congressional campaigns-not only did we get several major candidates on the record, but we ran full page ads in the largest papers in Iowa and all of the daily newspapers in New Hampshire listing who had signed on and who had not. McCain and his photo were clearly in the "not signed on camp." (And we should note that, after the Iowa ad ran, both Hillary Clinton and Bill Richardson promptly returned a signed pledge.)
Last week Common Cause, Public Campaign and Public Citizen released a document detailing the shortfall of all three major presidential candidates when it comes to money in politics and noting the lack of support McCain has shown thus far for either congressional or presidential public financing reform. We were the leaders to pass full, statewide "Clean Elections" in Connecticut and are currently working in 18 states to pass state-level public financing reforms.
I don't have the time to type out all of the work Common Cause has done in nearly 40 years of its proud history to hold people in power accountable, so I refer you here: http://www.commoncause.org/sit...