Our Impact

Issue One's accomplishments and highlights


  • Faces of Democracy members Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Pennsylvania Secretary of State Al Schmidt testified before the Senate Rules Committee in a hearing focused on the ongoing threats to election administration. Both cited the need for Congress to adequately fund elections to help mitigate the impact of high turnover of election officials.
  • Along with Project Liberty and the 5Rights Foundation, Issue One and the Council for Responsible Social Media helped launch the Safe Tech, Safe Kids campaign to push for a world in which young people and those who care about them have the tools, transparency, and agency they need to stay safe online.
  • Released a deep-dive investigation into the exodus of local election officials since the 2020 presidential election called “The High Cost of Turnover,” which was covered by dozens of national and regional media outlets.
  • Hosted a fly-in during which two dozen current and former election officials from our Faces of Democracy program came to Washington, D.C., and met with the White House, Department of Justice, Department of Homeland Security, and nearly 60 Republican and Democratic members of Congress to secure our country’s critical election infrastructure and protect election workers in advance of the 2024 election and beyond.
  • Organized more than a dozen organizations from across the political spectrum to call on presidential candidates to disclose their campaign bundlers.
  • Faces of Democracy campaign members Brianna Lennon, the county clerk of Boone County, Missouri, and Justin Roebuck, the county clerk of Ottawa County, Michigan, submitted written testimony for a Senate Rules Committee. And Faces of Democracy campaign member Cathy Darling Allen, the county clerk in Shasta County, California, submitted written testimony for a House Administration elections subcommittee hearing.
  • Published a comprehensive report with the Alliance for Securing Democracy at the German Marshall Fund that called for federal investment in elections and key reforms.
  • Launched our new podcast, “The X-Ray with Fernando Espuelas,” about who wants — and wields — political power. This podcast is the successor to our “Swamp Stories” podcast, which was one of the top podcasts in the democracy reform space.
  • Added several new members to our Faces of Democracy campaign, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson.
  • Issue One’s Council for Responsible Social Media worked closely with the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on protecting our children online. The hearing featured three members of the Council — Emma Lembke, Kristin Bride, and Josh Golin — who highlighted the ways that social media platforms are designed to addict and monetize minors. The hearing signaled bipartisan support for congressional action that would protect the safety, privacy, and well-being of youth online. Chairman Dick Durbin (D-IL) praised the Council’s efforts from the dais.
  • Helped lead efforts to create the Subcommittee on the Modernization of Congress within the House Administration Committee to continue the important work of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, which had over 100 of its bipartisan recommendations either fully or partially implemented.


  • Pushed for nearly two years to update the Electoral Count Act of 1887, the outdated law that was exploited by insurrectionists on Jan. 6, 2021. Our efforts culminated in the bipartisan passage of Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act to ensure the peaceful transfer of power following future presidential elections.
  • Celebrated 10 years of uniting Republicans, Democrats, and independents in the movement to fix our broken political system and build an inclusive democracy that works for everyone.
  • Established the Council for Responsible Social Media — a crosspartisan group of national leaders united to hold social media platforms to higher standards and advocate for fundamental changes to the social media platforms to strengthen our democracy.
  • Released a comprehensive guide to give the American public in-depth look about how elections work and how lawmakers should strengthen them.

  • Helped push to create a pay floor for House staffers to help Congress better reflect and serve the American people, including publishing a report that found that 1 in 8 D.C.-based congressional staffers made less than a living wage in 2020.
  • Hosted a bipartisan panel with partner organizations about why it’s time to ban stock trading by members of Congress, which featured Reps. Chip Roy (R-TX) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA). Members of the ReFormers Caucus subsequently sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to take action on the issue.
  • Published a report highlighting 12 extreme gerrymanders — examples of how state legislators have drawn discriminatory and unfair maps for partisan gain over the next decade.


  • Revealed the extent to which then-President Donald Trump used his Twitter account to undermine the legitimacy of the 2020 election
  • Started the “Reimagining American Democracy” discussion series, partnering with Freedom House, the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the George W. Bush Institute and featuring top thinkers, activists, policymakers, and organizations
  • Added five new board members
  • Launched a $400,000 ad buy with the National Council on Election Integrity to address the January 6 attack on the Capitol and imagine a new path forward, while also advocating for a peaceful transfer of power and an end to violence
  • Called for the creation of a bipartisan commission to investigate the events of January 6, and prevent future attacks, launching a $250,000 ad buy
  • Submitted written testimony to the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, calling on congressional leaders to strengthen Congress and build a legislative branch that is capable, representative, transparent, and resilient
  • Launched the second season of our “Swamp Stories” podcast


  • Helped push to secure a $400 million downpayment from Congress in assistance for states to hold safe and secure elections
  • Joined with a diverse, crosspartisan coalition for months to press all presidential candidates to disclose their bundlers, resulting in President-elect Biden publishing the names of his elite fundraisers
  • Worked with the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress as it passed 97 unanimous bipartisan recommendations that would help make Congress a more functional, accessible, transparent, representative, and technologically adept institution. Issue One was also a leading organization pushing for the House to renew the select committee’s work into the 117th Congress, which was officially announced at the end of December
  • Successfully pushed the House Democratic Caucus to make their rules public after a year-long effort with coalition groups
  • Filed an amicus brief before the Supreme Court with Campaign Legal Center arguing states may require their presidential electors to vote for the winner of their state’s popular vote, which the court unanimously affirmed in its “faithless elector” case 
  • Published “Mystery Money,”  a report that detailed how shell companies that give money to super PACs could be conduits for foreign money in the 2020 election
  • Worked with Reps. Ben Cline (R-VA) and Dean Phillips (D-MN) to introduce H.R. 8022, the Lobbying Disclosure Reform Act of 2020, the first substantive update of the LDA in over a decade
  • Held two virtual summits exploring the intersection between faith and politics
  • Published an open letter with a bipartisan group of 110 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet secretaries in USA Today urging current lawmakers to embrace institutional reforms in the wake of the public health and economic crises spurred by the coronavirus pandemic
  • Recognized by conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin for our work to secure the 2020 elections
  • Published extensive research about how candidates and outside groups work together to evade anti-corruption laws.
  • Executive Director Meredith McGehee submitted testimony to both the House and Senate appropriations committees in support of boosting congressional capacity
  • Joined with a coalition of groups to support a Michigan’s voter-approved redistricting commission, which a federal appeals court upheld as constitutional
  • Established the “Fix the System” coalition to engage business leaders in fixing and safeguarding democracy
  • Launched the first political reform podcast hosted by a Republican about draining the swamp


Issue One staff leafletting to promote the “Don’t Mess With US” campaign at the Capitol South metro station.
  • Help launch and incubate The Fulcrum as a first-of-its-kind digital publication dedicated to democracy reform. In 2021, The Fulcrum became a project of the Bridge Alliance Education Fund
  • Worked to extend the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress for another year
  • Championed fixing the broken Federal Election Commission through reportsvisibility projects, and legislation shaped by Issue One that passed the House of Representatives
  • Launched the inaugural Theodore Roosevelt Courage Awards to recognize Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate for their work as bipartisan champions to fix the broken political system
  • Published deep-dive research into poor political ad policies on Facebook, Twitter, Google that helped pressure social media platforms to overhaul their political ad policies before the 2020 election
  • Continued recruiting dozens of Republicans and Democrats to legislation that would protect against foreign influence in elections, including 39 sponsors from both parties in the House and Senate of the Honest Ads Act (HAA)
  • Organized more than a dozen organizations from across the political spectrum to call on presidential candidates to disclose their campaign bundlers


  • Led the coalition that worked with Republican and Democratic senators to pass the Senate Campaign Disclosure Parity Act, the first bipartisan political reform legislation signed into law in decades
  • Played a critical role in the creation of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress
  • Supported the launch of the first bipartisan Caucus in Congress ever established to discuss crosspartisan political reform that is now part of the Bipartisan Working Group
  • Held the “Renewing the Founders’ Promise” event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, PA.


  • Issued the definitive report on dark money in elections since Citizens United and recruited sponsors to the bipartisan Political Accountability & Transparency Act (PATA) to close dark money loopholes and end political slush funds in Congress
  • Wrote the definitive report on ethics in Congress over the past decade and helped overhaul of sexual harassment policies in Congress
  • Watchdogged one of the oldest dark money groups — Americans for Job Security — for failing to file mandatory tax returns — and as a result, it eventually lost its tax-exempt status
  • Recruited more than 200 former members of Congress, governors, and Cabinet secretaries from all 50 states (one of whom returned to Congress after learning about Issue One’s critical work)


  • Helped successfully defend the Office of Congressional Ethics after Congress tries to kill the independent watchdog.
  • Recruited former Representative Zach Wamp (R-TN) to lead our ReFormers Caucus with former Ambassadors Tim Roemer (D-IN) and Connie Morella (R-MD).
  • Supported a dozen Republicans and Democrats as they introduce a bill to overhaul the FEC — the first truly bipartisan political reform measure in almost a decade.
  • Launched “Democracy = National Security” — a project to connect how the broken political system damages America’s strength at home and abroad.
  • Helped craft the bipartisan, bicameral “Honest Ads Act” — the first legislation written directly in response to Russia’s attack on our political system in the 2016 elections.


  • Hosted an all-day, crosspartisan summit at the Brookings Institution about how to fix the political system.
  • Partnered with the U.S. Archives and the U.S. Association of former members of Congress to discuss the 40th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court case, Buckley v. Valeo.
  • CEO Nick Penniman co-authored “Nation on the Take” with Wendell Potter.
  • Helped draft the bipartisan “EPIC Act,” a bill to combat foreign money in U.S. elections.
  • Recruited former Homeland Security Secretary Gov. Tom Ridge (R-PA) to Issue One’s ReFormers Caucus, increasing membership to 150.
  • ReFormers Caucus released its policy framework to return the government to the American people.


  • Recruited former Ambassador to India and 9/11 Commissioner, Rep. Tim Roemer (D-IN) to lead our ReFormers Caucus with former Ambassador and Rep. Connie Morella (R-MD).
  • Launched its ReFormers Caucus with more than 100 former elected officials, chaired by former Ambassadors Tim Roemer (D-IN) and Connie Morella (R-MD).
  • Partnered with the Campaign Legal Center to release “Blueprints for Democracy,” a groundbreaking report on political reforms at the city and state levels.