In the fight against big money in politics, big money just might be the only way to accomplish the end of the Citizens United ruling.
The trailblazing grassroots movement End Citizens United has become a PAC of its own in its efforts to overturn the Supreme Court ruling permitting unlimited monetary contributions to political campaigns. In their first three months of operation, they have raised over $4 million dollars in funds and are projected to raise $35 million before the 2018 midterm elections. This would outstrip the $25 million dollar war chest they were able to raise for the 2016 elections.
According to statistics provided by the PAC, they have amassed a group of 100,000 donors, over 40,000 of which donated to the cause for the first time this quarter. The purpose of the PAC is the fund the reelection efforts of candidates who are champions of campaign finance reform. The mission of End Citizens United is to level the playing field by funding candidates who may be put at a disadvantage by big-money donors such as corporations who flood the coffers of candidates with policies friendly to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.
Although End Citizens United operates under the rules of a traditional PAC – and thus cannot accept donations in excess of $5000 from any one donor – their fundraising in 2016 ranked among the top Democratic PACs in terms of spending.
Recently, End Citizens United has fought the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice candidate Neil Gorsuch and Education Secretary Candidate Betsy DeVos, both of whom seek to defund or privatize essential state and federal institutions. They also supported neophyte Democrat Jon Ossoff in his unsuccessful bid in the special election to fill Georgia Republican Tom Price’s vacant seat in the House of Representatives.
Their latest move is endorsing U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse for his 2018 re-election campaign, calling him a “champion of campaign finance reform.” In his 2017 book “Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy,” Whitehouse opposed the Citizens United Supreme Court decision in no uncertain terms. He has been an advocate for greater transparency in campaign spending, especially in regards to money coming from foreign sources or corporations with foreign interests.
Big money has always been a corrosive influence on government, and with these latest actions End Citizens United has taken the fight against the unlimited influence of the wealthy to the halls of power in Washington.