Stronger Wrist

End Citizens United Crusades to PAC Plans to Make Its Presence Felt

End Citizens United is a new political action committee which came into existence just before the 2016 elections with an agenda of campaign finance reform starting with the 2016 elections. Its plan was to organize the collection of tens of millions of dollars in support of the Democratic candidates participating in the several house and senate committee races across the nation.

 

The ultimate objective of the End Citizen’s Campaign, of course, is to get a constitutional amendment passed that would help reverse the 2010 Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision that gave rise to a significant number of PACs, which caused a tsunami of money from dubious sources to be raised.

 

A petition drafted by End Citizen’s United asking the Congress to pass such legislation was signed by hundreds of thousands of people. They also announced the endorsement of 11 Democratic candidates, including names such as former Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado.

 

While this has certainly not been the only PAC to have taken up the issue of poll financing reform, where End Citizens United is different lies in its endeavor to get people elected who would then politically push their agenda. The idea was to support a candidate who favored political campaign reform and helping those beleaguered by the campaign of billionaire conservative Koch brothers and other dark money group.

 

The fact of the matter is that End Citizens United went ahead and collected more than 3 million dollars in the first three months of 2017. What’s more, the PAC anticipates that it should be able to raise $35 million in time for the 2018 mid-term elections for the Congress. This would be a lot more than the $25 million it had ultimately been able to raise in the lead up to the 2016 elections

 

As many as a hundred thousand people contributed to the PAC in the first three months of this year. Of these, a whopping 40000 were first-time donors. This works out to an average contribution of $12. Many of the donors are from among those who feel that the donation system is rigged against small-time donors. Others are die-hard Democratic supporters who want to fight the current President’s agenda, including his supreme court pick Judge Neil Gorsuch.

 

More recently the committee urged its members to help contribute a sum of $500,000 towards the congressional campaign of Democrat Jon Ostroff. The committee is also actively considering supporting Democratic Sens. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Jon Tester of Montana next year in defending their seats.

As its name suggests, the group’s ideology stems from its mission of fighting against the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision. Going by how it has progressed so far that goal may be achieved one day.

 

 

Citizens United Supreme Court Ruling: Government of the Wealthy and for the Wealthy

The election of Barak Obama in 2008 proved that many people were eager for the Federal government to take a new approach. And because Obama’s victory occurred at the same moment as the worst economic crisis since the days of the Great Depression, the economic divide in America was at the forefront of discussions. People were losing jobs, money, houses, businesses, and they were frightened.

 

Fast forward two years and things were improving but not fast enough. People were still at financial institutions in this country, and half saw the new President as part of the problem, and half saw him as a savior.

 

Framed by the context of a divided electorate came the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. F.E.C.

The wealthy were now free to donate any amount of money to their preferred candidates and remain in the shadows. They did not have to account for anything. Money could come from anywhere, virtually untraceable and without limit.

 

Opponents of the decision argued that billionaires and special interests could band together and buy elections, a practice once viewed as corrupt. Arguably, these monied groups now had the power to tip decisions in their favor and theoretically, could effect a legislative outcome. Fast forward once again to 2015, and the opponents of the big money agenda go on the offensive.

 

March 2015 is when the Citizens United opponents created the End Citizens United Political Action Committee. The committee is funded by grassroots donors and focuses on the task of providing a balance to Citizens United.

 

End Citizens United plans to employ tactics that include electing candidates that will work to overturn Citizens United, making money in politics a high priority as a national issue, and engaging in the education at the grass roots level.

 

End Citizens United has been busy fundraising. According to Fredreka Schouten’s article published by USA TODAY on April 4, 2017, the organization collected over $4 million in the first three months this year. The group predicts the total money raised before the 2018 mid-terms to be around $35 million, which is a $10 million improvement over 2016.

 

About one-half of the 100,000 donors who gave during the first part of the year are first-timers, and most of the contributions were small. One could draw the conclusion that many in the electorate are against big money in politics. Stay tuned.