Watchdog Common Cause picks new leader

Common Cause, one of Washington’s most prominent watchdog groups, has picked a new leader.

Miles Rapoport, president of the liberal-leaning think tank Demos, has been named president of the public interest group. He starts on March 10.

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“Miles brings us an incredible combination of intellect, energy and experience,” said Robert Reich, former Clinton Labor secretary and chairman of Common Cause’s National Governing Board. “His commitment to our mission of holding power accountable, and his understanding of the challenges we face in executing it, is unparalleled.”

Rapoport has been president of Demos since 2001. He replaces former Rep. Bob Edgar (D-Pa.), who died suddenly last year.

“I am tremendously excited to have the chance to lead Common Cause, build on its remarkable history and strong organizational platform, and expand on the major initiatives led by Bob Edgar,” Rapoport said.

“More and more Americans understand now that economic inequality, big money, and barriers to participation have distorted our democracy, and they are ready to roll up their sleeves to reclaim it. No organization is better positioned or better qualified than Common Cause to lead that effort.”

Rapoport is a director of The American Prospect and a former president of the magazine. He also has served as a Connecticut state representative and as Connecticut’s secretary of the State.

Common Cause has been one of several groups pushing for campaign finance reform to reduce the amount of money in politics. The watchdog has also been a thorn in the side of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative-leaning group that has attracted controversy for providing state legislators with draft bills.

Amelia Warren Tyagi, Demos’s board chairwoman, praised Rapoport in a statement.

“It has been a privilege to work with Miles and watch Demos, under his leadership, thrive as an organization dedicated to making real impact on issues that concern millions of Americans,” Warren Tyagi said. “I’ll miss working with him so closely, but I know that his move to Common Cause is not only the right one at the right time for him, but a boon to the progressive movement at large.”