DAvid Cohen DIes

David Cohen, Ex-Common Cause Chief, Dies At 79

President of Common Cause, fighter for post-Watergate laws on ethics, self-proclaimed, highly skillful lobbyist, Mr. David Cohen passes away at the age of 79 in Westport, Conn., on the 29th of November, 2015. The cause of his death was reported to be a heart attack.


Mr. David Cohen was most popularly known for his involvement in stimulating resistance to the war in Vietnam through the means of non – profit group, Common Cause. He joined Common Cause in the year, 1971 – a year after it was originally founded by John W. Gardner. The group’s rank increased from 4,000 members to 250,000 within a span of five years while ending up being the nation’s largest nonpartisan citizen’s lobby.


Though David Broder, a Washington Post columnist, penned down in 1977 that the agenda of Common Cause was “redolent of an unacknowledged bias for middle-class activism.” He also gave credit to the organization to have “more impact on changing and opening up the political system than any other group in America in recent years.”


But, Mr. David Cohen’s primary vision with regard to Common Cause was to successfully broaden the definition of lobbyist from an overpaid, surreptitious replacement for ravenous personal interest individuals to the kind that works towards promoting relevant public causes.


Mr. David Cohen went heights to achieve this vision while also characterizing his profession as “prophetic and priestly.” He believed that public interest lobbyists especially remain worried about the incorporation of the views of people who don’t normally have to do anything with the process.”


In fact, he went on saying to the Pacific Standard Magazine back in 2013 that, “We all know the cartoon character of the fat guy with a big cigar passing out oodles of money. That’s not the full story or anything close to it. Lobbying is about representing people’s interests as they work to redress their public grievances. We all have special interests, and they should not be dismissed or castigated.”


Being born and brought up in Philadelphia, he was a son of Joseph Cohen and Gertrude Schwab – former European immigrants. He did specialization  in history from Philadelphia-based Temple University and further graduated in the year, 1958. As he grew older, he moved to Washington in order to fulfil his dreams of becoming a legislative representative for the liberal Americans for Democratic Action. He and his wife, Mrs. Florence Cohen, partially owned Politics & Prose, a popular Washington bookstore.


Mr. David Cohen is survived by two children – a son, Denis P. Cohen (former assistant district attorney) and a daughter, Sherrie Cohen, who is a trial lawyer.


His idea of an effective lobbyist was someone who “listens all the time, for signals, for code words, for clues,” adding, “Even within the framework of something you are advocating, there is room for difference and room for finding different ways to get to the same place.”