Putting An End To Citizens United

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (more commonly referred to as just “Citizens United”) was a supreme court case in 2010. In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court significantly loosened the rules of campaign finance and effectively gave corporations the same first amendment rights to free speech as individuals when it comes to politics. The effect of the Citizens United decision is that corporations can now legally spend virtually unlimited amounts of money to support a bill or candidate that matches up with their interests. The decision was seen as a “right wing” decision, championed by Republicans and special interest groups.

This controversial decision has been a topic of hot debate for almost a decade, but the recent revelations about Russian interference in the United States’ 2016 elections has breathed new life into the arguments against Citizens United.

The ability for a foreign company or a foreign government to easily spend money on political advertising as investigations into the 2016 election have revealed is a serious red flag. It demonstrates how defenseless US elections have become as a result of decisions like Citizens United and the loopholes they’ve created for political spending. As of early 2017 the Federal Election Commission (FEC) had as many as 15 illegal foreign campaign spending cases pending.

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Many ideas have been proposed such as the “DISCLOSE Act”, the “By the People” reform package, and the “Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act”, but Congress has not taken action. Republicans are now faced with the decision of accepting the status quo to hold on to their big ticket donors, or taking steps to restore the integrity of the American electoral process.

Campaign finance reform is the term that describes changing the rules of how much money can be spent on political speech by individuals and corporations. Organizations like End Citizens United are stepping in to answer the call that US politicians are sidestepping.

End Citizens United or ECU is a political action committee (PAC) funded by grassroots donations that was established in 2015. ECU supports Democratic officials, candidates and legislation that offset the effects of Citizens United and advance campaign finance reform. ECU is working to re-elect campaign finance reform supporters, and unseat Republicans with Democratic challengers who are ready to champion reform and reverse the effects of Citizens United.

End Citizens United offers many options for individual participation. Through their website, http://endcitizensunited.org, people can join the “ECU Action Network” for opportunities like town hall meetings, petitions, and calls to action for elected officials. Supporters can donate on the site, and follow ECU on Facebook or Twitter to remain informed.

Most importantly, individuals can find and voted for candidates endorsed by the ECU who are committed to implementing campaign finance reform. As of this writing, the ECU have endorsed the following candidates:

Amy Klobuchar (Incumbent)
Angus King (Incumbent)
Beto O’Rourke (Challenger)
Bill Nelson (Incumbent)
Bob Casey (Incumbent)
Claire McCaskill (Incumbent)
Doug Jones (Challenger)
Elizabeth Warren (Incumbent)
Heidi Heitkamp (Incumbent)
Jacky Rosen (Challenger)
Joe Donnelly (Incumbent)
Jon Tester (Incumbent)
Martin Heinrich (Incumbent)
Mazie Hirono (Incumbent)
Sheldon Whitehouse (Incumbent)
Sherrod Brown (Incumbent)
Tammy Baldwin (Incumbent)

Tom O’Halleran (Incumbent, AZ-01)
Ruben Gallego (Incumbent, AZ-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (Incumbent, AZ-09)

Ami Bera (Incumbent, CA-07)
Jerry McNerney (Incumbent, CA-09)
Nancy Pelosi (Incumbent, CA-12)
Barbara Lee (Incumbent, CA-13)
Eric Swalwell (Incumbent, CA-15)
Ro Khanna (Incumbent, CA-17)
Salud Carbajal (Incumbent, CA-24)
Julia Brownley (Incumbent, CA-26)
Pete Aguilar (Incumbent, CA-31)
Norma Torres (Incumbent, CA-35)
Raul Ruiz (Incumbent, CA-36)
Nanette Barragan (Incumbent, CA-44)
Scott Peters (Incumbent, CA-52)

Jason Crow (Challenger, CO-06)

Elizabeth Esty (Incumbent, CT-05)

Al Lawson (Incumbent, FL-05)
Stephanie Murphy (Incumbent, FL-07)
Val Demings (Incumbent, FL-10)
Charlie Crist (Incumbent, FL-13)
Ted Deutch (Incumbent, FL-22)

Colleen Hanabusa (Incumbent, HI-01)

Dave Loebsack (Incumbent, IA-02)

Raja Krishnamoorthi (Incumbent, IL-08)
Jan Schakowsky (Incumbent, IL-09)
Cheri Bustos (Incumbent, IL-17)

Paul Davis (Challenger, KS-02)

John Yarmuth (Incumbent, KY-03)

Jim McGovern (Incumbent, MA-02)
Katherine Clark (Incumbent, MA-05)

Anthony Brown (Incumbent, MD-04)
Steny Hoyer (Incumbent, MD-05)
John Sarbanes (Incumbent, MD-06)
Elijah Cummings (Incumbent, MD-07)
Jamie Raskin (Incumbent, MD-08)

Dan Kildee (Incumbent, MI-05)

Dean Phillips (Challenger, MN-03)
Rick Nolan (Incumbent, MN-08)

Carol Shea-Porter (Incumbent, NH-01)
Ann McLane Kuster (Incumbent, NH-02)

Donald Norcross (Incumbent, NJ-01)
Andy Kim (Challenger, NJ-03)
Josh Gottheimer (Incumbent, NJ-05)

Ben Ray Luján (Incumbent, NM-03)

Ruben Kihuen (Incumbent, NV-04)

Tom Suozzi (Incumbent, NY-03)
Grace Meng (Incumbent, NY-06)
Hakeem Jeffries (Incumbent, NY-08)
Adriano Espaillat (Incumbent, NY-13)
Joseph Crowley (Incumbent, NY-14)
Sean Patrick Maloney (Incumbent, NY-18)
Paul Tonko (Incumbent, NY-20)
Anthony Brindisi (Challenger, NY-22)
Louise Slaughter (Incumbent, NY-25)

Peter DeFazio (Incumbent, OR-04)

Chrissy Houlahan (Challenger, PA-06)
Brendan Boyle (Incumbent, PA-13)
Matt Cartwright (Incumbent, PA-17)

David Cicilline (Incumbent, RI-01)

Vicente Gonzalez (Incumbent, TX-15)
Joaquin Castro (Incumbent, TX-20)

Donald McEachin (Incumbent, VA-04)

Peter Welch (Incumbent, VT-AL)

Rick Larsen (Incumbent, WA-02)
Derek Kilmer (Incumbent, WA-06)
Pramila Jayapal (Incumbent, WA-07)

Randy Bryce (Challenger, WI-01)
Mark Pocan (Incumbent, WI-02)

End Citizens United Eyes Campaign Finance Reform

The American political system has underwent a tremendous and disastrous change over the better part of the past decade. The reason? Money has gotten into politics and it has changed the ways that the government caters to their voters and constituents. As a result we are seeing more and more corporations with sway far surpassing that of the regular, every-day voter. The reason for this fundamental change can be found back in 2010 when a conservative group named End Citizens United helped to unleash the floodgates of dark money and special interests in politics. Fortunately for us there are still those fighting to try and right the ship.

End Citizens United – Political Action Committee
In order to render change in Washington D.C. and bring power back to the people there has been the rise of various grassroots foundations and political action committees. Leading the charge is End Citizens United, a political action committee that is being led by President Tiffany Muller. The PAC was formed with the sole goal of undoing the massive damage rendered by the Supreme Court decision relating to End Citizens United. Unfortunately the End Citizens United decision was rendered by the Supreme Court and any amendment is going to be beholden to a massive amount of legislation — some of which will require bipartisan support.

Tiffany Muller understands that the road ahead is arduous and that there are some major hurdles to overcome. Still, End Citizens United has shown themselves to be more than up for the task. The PAC has gained major steam in the wake of Donald Trump’s election to the White House. Moderates and progressives around the country are equally upset by what they see as a fundamental perversion of justice and their right to vote. The fact that Donald Trump could lose the popular vote so decidedly but still win thanks to his massive corporate interests seems fundamentally wrong.

In order for End Citizens United to be successful they are going to need some major fundraising goals met through grassroots donations. End Citizens United placed the goal of $35 million for the 2017 fiscal year with the anticipation of having the money prepared to help congressional candidates in 2018. Muller and her team know that in order to succeed in bringing campaign finance reform to Washington, they’ll need legislators in place willing to fight and propose legislation. This is one of the leading ways that this change can happen.

End Citizens United has thus far raised $4 million of their anticipated $35 million which sets them up for a big year of fundraising. End Citizens United has an uphill battle ahead of them but it is one that they can win.