News. Debate. Community. Levers for a better democracy.

The Fulcrum is a digital news organization focused exclusively on efforts to reverse the dysfunctions plaguing American democracy. We are nonprofit and nonpartisan. Our original stories, the news we gather from across the country and our opinion forum are all tightly focused on money in politics, redistricting, voting rights, election access, government ethics, civic engagement and the imbalance of powers.

That's because our coverage is all about efforts to make our democratic republic less partisan, our elections more competitive, our politicians less beholden to moneyed interests, our officials more attentive to real evidence in their policy-making and our Congress more effective, ethical and civil.

Dozens of political reform initiatives are being pushed all over the country. We want to explain why some are surging and some are stalling. We want to decode behaviors threatening — and protecting — the principles of the Constitution. Most importantly, we explain how you can get involved and why our democracy depends on it.

While rooting for our democratic institutions to get stronger, we have no rooting interest in any of the prescriptions out there. Our journalistic role is to help you by bringing a clear and unbiased eye to the debates.

Doing so requires us to be free of partisanship and journalistically independent from those supporting our mission. So while we are incubated by Issue One, which describes itself as "the leading cross-partisan political reform group in Washington," we have the independence and authority to cover the issues as we see fit. And we have the same arrangement with our generous funders.

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The Fulcrum entered into a partnership with Independent Voter News in February 2020, through which each publication will share select stories from the other. IVN's mission is to provide news and policy analysis from across the political spectrum.

Our funders

Consistent with our commitment to full transparency in giving, The Fulcrum discloses its donors. We are generously funded by the Hewlett Foundation, the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, Arnold Ventures, the Unite America Institute, the Gaia Fund, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the Lizzie and Jonathan M. Tisch Foundation and the Thornburg Foundation. We are also beneficiaries of the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

David Meyers, publisher and executive editor, was most recently vice president of business operations for CQ Roll Call, and before that was the organization's vice president of research and content development. Prior to the merger of Roll Call and CQ, he was Roll Call managing editor, running day-to-day newsroom operations and editorial product development.
Email: | Twitter: @davidmeyers

David Hawkings, founding editor, was most recently the senior editor of CQ Roll Call, writing columns for each publication and hosting the "Roll Call Decoder" series of videos and podcasts. He spent six years as managing editor of CQ Weekly, when the magazine won two Dirksen Awards for coverage of Congress, and before that supervised all legislative coverage and was managing editor for daily news.
Email: | Twitter: @davidhawkings

Sara Swann, staff writer, started her career covering local and state government and politics for The Daily Times on Maryland's Eastern Shore. She was news editor of Syracuse University's daily paper and has done campaign finance reporting for the Center for Responsive Politics.
Email: | Twitter: @saramswann

Eric Ashman, strategic advisor, is the former president and chief operating officer of Group Nine Media and was the chief financial officer of the Huffington Post. Eric is also a board director of Voter Choice Massachusetts, a nonpartisan organization advocating for the expanded use of ranked-choice voting.
Twitter: @ericashman

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Mark Botsford, contributing editor, has spent most of his professional career providing strategic advice to Fortune 500 companies doing business in Latin America.
Email: | Twitter: @markbotsford

Issue One support provided by:

Nick Penniman, our founder, is the CEO and founder of Issue One, which describes itself as "the leading cross-partisan political reform group in Washington" and remains The Fulcrum's parent organization. Penniman co-authored "Nation on the Take" (2016) and was previously the founder and executive director of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Washington director of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy and publisher of Washington Monthly.
Twitter: @Nick_Penniman

The Advisory Board provides guidance to the The Fulcrum team by validating our mission, reviewing our work and suggesting future endeavors. While the board does not set policy, its members play a significant role in advising senior leadership on best practices, areas of coverage and strategic planning. Members of the board are not compensated for their time, nor do they hold a financial stake in The Fulcrum or its incubator, Issue One.

Potential advisers are invited to join the board based on their understanding of the media landscape and the mission of The Fulcrum. Advisers are expected to be regular readers and promoters of The Fulcrum's work.

Board Members

Lisa Brown, vice president & general counsel, Georgetown University
Brown provides general legal counsel to the President, the University's governing boards, and its senior academic and administrative officers among other duties. Prior to joining Georgetown, she served in the Obama administration, first as White House staff secretary then as acting chief performance officer at the Office of Management and Budget. Prior to joining the administration, Brown served for six years as the executive director of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.

Lucy Dalglish, dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism, University of Maryland, College Park
Dalglish has been a national leader in supporting open meeting and open records laws at the state and federal level. During the last 10 years, she has played a key role in efforts to pass state and federal reporters "shield laws." Prior to joining the University of Maryland she served as executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Dalglish has worked as a media lawyer in the trial department of the Minneapolis law firm of Dorsey & Whitney and as a reporter and editor at the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

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Michael Golden, author, Unlock Congress
Golden is a journalist, social entrepreneur and public speaker who serves as senior fellow at the Adlai Stevenson Center on Democracy. He gives presentations on Unlock Congress to universities, companies, non-profit organizations and political associations. Golden has worked as a campaign manager and communications strategist on political races for the White House, U.S. Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives. He co-founded One Million Degrees, a non-profit scholarship program for low-income community college students in Illinois.

Myra Miller, senior vice president, The Winston Group
Miller has worked with House and Senate Republicans on strategic planning, communications and policy issues for more than a decade. Recently she has worked on a variety of policy issues and bipartisan initiatives specifically dealing with governance, including Congressional reform, and improving political discourse. She has done research on women voters and has worked with Members of Congress on how to talk to women voters. Miller has worked with Fortune 100 corporations and associations on key policy issues including health care, medical innovation and tax policy, as well as brand reputation.

Ellen Shearer, executive editor, Medill Washington
Shearer hold a number of positions at Medill: the William F. Thomas Professor, executive editor of Medill Washington and co-director of the Medill National Security Journalism initiative. She has written and taught extensively in the areas of political journalism, national security journalism and watchdog journalism. Shearer is a past president of the Washington Press Club Foundation and since 1999 has coordinated judging for the White House Correspondents' Association's awards. Her most recent book is "Truth Counts: A Practical Guide for News Consumers."

Rob Stein, founder, Democracy Alliance
Stein is founder of the Democracy Alliance and co-founder of the Committee on States. An attorney by training, he founded and has run several nonprofit organizations, was senior strategist to the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, was chief of staff of the Washington Office of the Clinton-Gore Transition, served as chief of staff of the Commerce Department, and was a private equity investor working with dozens of early-stage companies.

Rich Tafel, managing director, Raffa Social Capital Advisors
Tafel matches impact investors to vetted social ventures, providing back office support, public policy and strategic coaching. Tafel is also the director of the American Project, bringing together leading thinkers to imagine new solutions to America's broken political system. The project is housed at Pepperdine School of Public Policy. Tafel is also pastor of Church of the Holy City in Washington DC, where he is launching a spiritual entrepreneur hub. He is the founder of Log Cabin Republicans.

Please share your ideas, suggestions and criticisms with us. We want your feedback.

To submit story ideas, events or job listings, or to comment on our coverage, email To submit a proposal for our Opinion section, email

To report an error or complaint, please email We review every complaint and request for a correction carefully. When we determine a correction is in order, we fix the error in the article and append a note explaining what was corrected.

For media inquiries, contact David Meyers. To support our work through a donation, contact Amy Eastman.

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