Theresa Amato is a public advocate and author who has worked for two decades for and with several nonprofit organizations to advance civic rights by training citizen advocates, promoting access to information, watchdogging government and corporate power, engaging in strategic philanthropy, and influencing public policy.
In 1993, Amato founded the Illinois-based Citizen Advocacy Center to build democracy and served as the executive director for its first eight years. She currently serves as executive director of Citizen Works to educated about and reform excessive corporate power and as the director of the Fair Contracts project to reform the unfair fine print in standard form contracts.
In both 2000 and 2004, Amato was the national presidential campaign manager and in-house counsel for Ralph Nader, producing the highest vote count in the United States for a third-party progressive candidate in the last 85 years, and shepherding myriad election reform efforts and litigation to open up the political system to competition—many of which she discusses in her 2009 book, Grand Illusion: The Myth of Voter Choice in a Two-Party Tyranny, (The New Press, NY). As a manager of Amato & Main, LLC, Amato provides consulting advice for independent, third-party and progressive campaigns and nonprofit organizations.
Amato is the recipient of several public interest honors and awards and has appeared in most major national and international media outlets. She was graduated with honors from Harvard in 1986 with a degree in Government and Economics, and from the New York University School of Law in 1989. After a federal judicial clerkship in the Southern District of New York, Amato was the youngest staff attorney at Public Citizen Litigation Group, where she was the director of the Freedom of Information Clearinghouse in Washington D.C. Amato lives in Oak Park, IL with her spouse Todd Main and their two daughters.