Karen Hobert Flynn




Common Cause Education Fund


Think Tank Staffer

Passed Away:


Contact InfluenceWatch with suggested edits or tips for additional profiles.

Karen Hobert Flynn was the president of Common Cause, a progressive advocacy group oriented around campaign finance law and policy, redistricting, and left-of-center policy objectives, as well as respectively the co-chair and member of the board of the Democracy Initiative and Democracy21. She passed away in March 2023. 1


Prior to working for Common Cause, Karen Hobert Flynn worked as a staffer and organizer for center-left organizations including Public Citizen, a lobbying and advocacy organization created by former Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader that supports a broad liberal policy agenda focused on opposing the free-market interests of American business owners. 2 3 4

Common Cause

Common Cause is a left-progressive advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., founded in 1970 by former Secretary of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare John Gardner, which focuses on campaign finance law, redistricting law, and general liberal policy objectives. Notably, despite describing itself as non-partisan, the group opposes Republican politicians, Republican-nominated judges, Republican-backed efforts to ensure the integrity of voter rolls, and many Republican redistricting efforts. 5 6

Although Karen Hobert Flynn had worked for Common Cause earlier in her career as an organizer, she began working continuously for the organization in 2007. Her first position during this time was vice president of states, in which capacity she expanded Common Cause’s state presence to include the U.S. states of Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Oregon, Ohio, Florida, Vermont and Hawaii. Notably, during her time in this position, Flynn lobbied for heavily restrictive laws regulating election-related speech activity in Connecticut. 7

In 2012, Flynn was promoted to senior vice president for programs and strategy, in which capacity she fundraised aggressively for the organization, and launched the group’s campaign to oppose a constitutional convention. One year later, in 2013 (and until 2014) Flynn served additionally as interim president of Common Cause following the death of its then-president, Bob Edgar. 8

In 2016, Flynn was once again promoted, becoming Common Cause’s ninth president. 9 She would serve in the position until she passed away in March 2023. 10

Other Nonprofits

In addition to her work with Common Cause, Karen Hobert Flynn was the co-chair of the Democracy Initiative, a coalition of 75 left-of-center organizations including the Brennan Center for Justice, the AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the NAACPGreenpeace USA, and that oppose certain election-related speech activities. She was also on the board of Democracy21, a lobbying and advocacy group founded in 1997 by longtime activist Fred Wertheimer that similarly opposes certain election-related speech activities. 11 12 13


  1. “Remembering Karen Hobert Flynn.” Common Cause, Accessed July 10, 2024.
  2. Swenson, Scott; Eisman, Dale. “Common Cause Names Karen Hobert Flynn President.” Common Cause. June 13, 2016. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  3. Public Citizen: About Us.” Public Citizen Website. Undated. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  4. Homepage. Long-Term Care Rx Services Campaign. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  5. “Our Mission.” Common Cause.  Accessed May 23, 2022.
  6. “Common Cause .” Discover the Networks. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  7. “KAREN HOBERT FLYNN.” Common Cause. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  8. “KAREN HOBERT FLYNN.” Common Cause. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  9. “KAREN HOBERT FLYNN.” Common Cause. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  10. “Remembering Karen Hobert Flynn.” Common Cause, Accessed July 10, 2024.
  11. “Fred Wertheimer.” Just Security. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  12. “Issues.” Democracy Initiative. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  13. “Our Partners.” Democracy Initiative. Accessed May 23, 2022.
  See an error? Let us know!