Issue One




Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2019):

Revenue: $4,674,880
Expenses: $4,666,186
Assets: $2,556,443



Chief Executive Officer:

Nick Penniman

IRS Filings:

2020 Form 990

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Issue One is an organization that advocates for restricting election-related speech activity. It also seeks to restrict lobbying on local, state, and federal levels. While it purports to be bipartisan and works with former centrist Republican lawmakers, the group is associated with the Democracy Alliance network of liberal mega-donors, which classifies Issue One as a “recommended organization.”1


Issue One was founded in 2014 when two organizations, Fund For The Republic and Americans For Campaign Reform, merged.2 The Democracy Alliance, a collection of left-of-center political donors, provided institutional backing to Fund For The Republic, coordinating $1.6 million in financial support for the group in 2014.3 The Democracy Alliance coordinates spending and strategy between the groups in order to defeat conservatives. Issue One has kept its association with the Democracy Alliance.4


Issue One works by educating the public on the issue of campaign finance reform. It also networks with like-minded organizations and people to promote its issues. It also works to make grants to supporting organizations promoting campaign finance reform. Finally, it organizes lawmakers and other “thought leaders” into advocates for campaign finance reform.5

One of the ways Issue One tries to draw attention to the issue of campaign finance reform is by coordinating a group of ex-Congressmen to lobby their former colleagues on the issue. The ReFormers Caucus is a bipartisan group of former members of Congress that has been organized by Issue One to promote campaign finance reform on the state, local, and Federal level. 6 According to the Huffington Post, former U.S. Senators who are part of ReFormers include former Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), Obama administration Secretary of Defense and U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska), Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), John Danforth (R-Missouri), Richard Lugar (R-Indiana), Carl Levin (D-Michigan), and Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming). Former U.S. Representatives Tim Roemer (D-Indiana), Connie Morella (R-Maryland), Chris Shays (R-Connecticut) and Mike Castle (R-Delaware) are also involved in the campaign.7


In 2015, Issue One raised $4 million and spent $3.3 million. Among the organizations who received grants were the environmentalist organizing group League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, which received $925,000. The liberal Center For American Progress (CAP) received $20,000. The Common Cause Education Fund received $200,000. 8

In the past Issue One has received support from Jonathan Soros.9 The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation has also funded the group, contributing $1.2 million in 2017.10


Nick Penniman serves as the CEO. Michael Beckel serves as the Manager of Research, Investigations, and Policy Analysis. Kelly Smith Bell is the Development Manager.

Whitney Hatch is the chairman of the board. J.B. Lyon serves as the treasurer. Elisabeth Reynolds serves as the secretary.

The co-chairs for the advisory board are former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley (D-N.J.), former Sen. Bob Kerrey (D-Nebraska), and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyoming).


  1. “Issue One – Democracy Alliance”. 2017. Democracy Alliance. Accessed August 8 2017.
  2. “Issue One – Ballotpedia”. 2017. Ballotpedia.Org. Accessed August 8 2017.
  3. Markay, Lachlan. “Democracy Alliance Network Revealed.” Washington Free Beacon. May 20, 2014. Accessed April 29, 2019.
  4. “Issue One – Democracy Alliance”. 2017. Democracy Alliance. Accessed August 8 2017. .
  5. “Issue One – Democracy Alliance”. 2017. Democracy Alliance. Accessed August 8 2017.
  6. “Campaign Finance Reform Brings Former Lawmakers Together”. 2015. Huffpost. Accessed August 8 2017.
  7. “Campaign Finance Reform Brings Former Lawmakers Together”. 2015. Huffpost. Accessed August 8 2017.
  8. 2017. Pdfs.Citizenaudit.Org. Accessed August 8 2017.
  9. Vogel, Kenneth. 2014. “Fighting Big Donors With Big Dollars”. POLITICO.
  10. “Issue One – For General Operating Support”. 2017. Hewlett Foundation. Accessed August 8 2017.

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Amber McReynolds
    Senior Political Strategist (2022-Present)
  2. Ian Simmons
    Board Member
  3. Bob Clement
    ReFormers Caucus Member

Associated Organizations

  1. Issue One Action (Non-profit)
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: June - May
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Jun Form 990 $4,674,880 $4,666,186 $2,556,443 $344,456 N $4,671,898 $200 $175 $651,099 PDF
    2018 Jun Form 990 $3,262,262 $3,283,337 $2,436,134 $232,841 N $3,238,832 $0 $481 $664,867 PDF
    2017 Jun Form 990 $3,351,862 $2,704,939 $2,478,238 $253,870 N $3,345,186 $0 $0 $527,759
    2016 Jun Form 990 $3,274,780 $2,859,165 $1,749,217 $171,772 N $3,240,937 $0 $0 $491,075
    2015 Jun Form 990 $4,077,777 $3,391,367 $1,308,731 $146,901 N $4,069,483 $0 $0 $408,678 PDF
    2014 Jun Form 990 $2,800,915 $2,316,590 $603,590 $128,170 N $2,799,016 $0 $0 $307,821 PDF
    2013 Jun Form 990 $814,002 $822,907 $7,786 $16,691 N $813,520 $0 $0 $148,984 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Issue One

    1401 K ST NW STE 350
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-3422