WASHINGTON - May 30 - Common Cause mourns the passing of Archibald Cox, Sr., who died of natural causes at the age of 92 on May 29 at his home in Brooksville, Maine. "Archie Cox served as chairman of Common Cause's national governing board from 1980 through 1992, providing a strong moral compass that helped Common Cause fight conflicts of interest and secrecy in government," said Common Cause President Chellie Pingree. "Even as chairman emeritus, Archie remained involved in our issues and supportive of Common Cause's work. We will miss his remarkable presence and his brilliant mind."
Common Cause, a national public interest organization based in Washington, D.C., with state offices throughout the country, works for fair, open, and responsive government. Among the issues it champions are media reform, campaign finance and lobbying reform, election reform, and corporate accountability.
Alvin Moss of Sorrento, Maine, who served on the Common Cause national governing board during Cox's tenure, said that Cox had such a courageous code of ethics that he adhered to his principles even when they ran counter to the political interests of his party, as President Nixon discovered to his chagrin during the Watergate Investigation. Nixon fired Cox in 1973 only five months after hiring him as the special Watergate prosecutor because it became clear that Cox was not interested in covering up the Nixon administration's illegal activities.
Archibald Cox had close ties to Maine all his life. "He had to move to his family home in Maine after being fired by Nixon," explained Moss, "because his home in Wayland, Massachusetts had been rented." Cox and his wife of almost 67 years, Phyllis, retired to the home in the mid-1980s in Brooksville, Maine, that had been in the Cox family for generations. "He was a humble, neighborly man," said Ruth Moss. "He never had a bad word to say about anybody. He didn't put on airs, although he was an internationally recognized legal expert." The Mosses fondly recalled the celebration of Archibald Cox's 90th birthday that Common Cause Maine held in Ellsworth. "Archie Cox was an inspirational figure," said Common Cause Maine's Chair Al Smith. "We were honored to know him."
Chellie Pingree, a former state senate majority leader and U.S. senatorial candidate from North Haven, Maine, noted that the passing of Archibald Cox along with Sam Dash, both distinguished men of principle who helped uncover the Watergate misdeeds, brings to mind the misuse of power and secrecy which seems once again to be rampant in Washington. "Where can we look for moral leadership in these dark times?" she asked. "We must have the courage to hold power accountable. How lucky we are to be able to learn from and follow the example of Archie Cox."