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Common Cause Florida & New Jersey Chapters Go Kaput

Common Cause’s state chapters in Florida and New Jersey are going out of business, Tampa Bay Online reports:

After 30 years of advocating campaign finance reform, tougher ethics laws, election reform and other “good government” issues, the Florida chapter of Common Cause is shutting down for lack of funding. [...]

The two Common Cause full-time staff members, Wilcox and development director Alex Chavez of Sarasota, were told yesterday their jobs were being terminated at the end of March, along with a total of 20 staffers nationwide, said Chavez. He said that will include closing at least one other state office, in New Jersey.

The Florida chapter was opened in 1974, four years after the national organization was founded by John Gardner, a former high official of the Lyndon Johnson administration, who described it as a lobbying group for the common interests of the populace. [...]

Chavez, hired less than a year ago to boost the organization’s membership and fundraising, called the situation “a sign of the times – really a sad story, a sad situation for the progressive movement.”

Wilcox said direct mail fundraising for small donors is drying up, and “major donors are the ones who were burned by Madoff. Non-profits are struggling.”

That’s Bernard Madoff, by the way, the now-jailed liberal embezzler who has helped to kill at least two big left-wing grant-making charities, the Picower and JEHT foundations, so far.

Big liberal institutional donors to Common Cause include Arca Foundation ($1,395,000 since 2000), Carnegie Corp. of New York ($1,360,000 since 2001), Beldon Fund ($1,300,000 since 2005), and Joyce Foundation ($570,000 since 2002). Before he became U.S. president, Barack Obama served on the Joyce Foundation’s board.

At least four members of George Soros’s Democracy Alliance, the billionaire socialists’ club, have also given big to Common Cause, which suggests that Common Cause is a Democracy Alliance-approved grantee. The list includes Soros’s Open Society Institute ($1,225,000 since 2001), Lewis B. & Dorothy Cullman Foundation Inc. ($75,000 since 2004), Rutt Bridges Family Foundation ($23,000 since 2004), and Gill Foundation ($20,000 since 2004).

Common Cause attacks pharmaceutical companies for opposing government-run health care, demands federal regulation of drug prices, and pushes for so-called campaign finance reform and public financing of campaigns for political office.

According to its most recent tax returns, Common Cause Education Fund, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, generated a $1,651,117 deficit in the tax year ending June 30, 2007, down from a $1,316,229 surplus the previous tax year.

The group’s 501(c)(4) lobbying arm known as Common Cause is doing better, but, ominously, reported on its most recent publicly available tax return that its 501(c)(3) affiliate owed it $1,900,805 as of June 30, 2007. 

Common Cause (the c4) reported a $2,219,933 surplus in the tax year ending June 30, 2007, which was an improvement over the $1,057,107 deficit it reported the year before.