End Citizens United: Driving Money Out Of Elections

During elections in most countries, a lot of dirty money exchanges hands, and it cannot be traced from its source. While a number of funds used to fund elections vary from country to country depending on the type of donors and their political goodwill. The impact of such funding is always felt in the economy whereby the donors control most aspects of the economy. In America, this is also the case. It is due to this reason that the American public united to form the End Citizen United to challenge the federal laws that govern fundraising and donations towards campaigns.

In the infamous 2010, ruling by the Supreme Court, the judges ruled in favor of the federal government whereby they upheld that legally corporations are people and they can support any candidate they wish to. Despite the fact that the decision didn’t lie well with the American citizens especially the Democrats it, however, didn’t stop their ambition of condemning the federal election laws.

With established grassroots support, End Citizens United was started in March 2015 in reaction to the 2010 decision by the Supreme Court. It is headed by Tiffany Muller who is the CEO and President. Citizens United was founded as Political Action Committee with the purpose of advocating for financial reforms.

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With the intent of driving a lot of money out of politics, the group has found itself making more money than it expected. In the first quarter of this year alone the group collected $4 million, and it projects to collect an estimated amount of $35 million to cater for the Congressional midterm elections which will be held in 2018. This will be a significant increase in collections as compared to the $25 million which was collected for the 2016 elections which were the group’s first election cycle since it was formed in 2015. End Citizen United does not accept donations from any particular individual exceeding $5,000.

According to Tiffany Muller, the group’s President, over hundred thousand people contributed during this year’s first three months, of which forty thousand were contributing for the first time. This shows the tremendous progress the group is making towards achieving its goals. According to the group’s leaders, their main goal is to elect leaders who are financing reformist into Congress. On average the group received contributions worthy $12 million for this year.

During the recent special elections for suburban Atlanta, held on April 18, the group urged its members to raise $500,000 to help towards the campaign of Jon Ossof who was vying for the first time. Jon, who is 30 and a reformist, had surprised many by raising over $4 million on his own towards his campaigns. The seat was left vacant by Tom Price who was appointed as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

End Citizens United PAC in a bid to make their name permanent

One of the things that were different about the campaigns leading up to the just concluded general elections was the level of involvement of political action committees. One of the PACs that were deeply involved in the process is the End Citizens United. The group had raised $2million even before the campaigning period started, and they managed to raise even more funds, which helped them support a good number of Democratic Party Candidates vying for different positions across the country. Before the cycle ended, they had more than $30 million to support the campaigns of the various candidates.

 

Now that the campaigns are completed, and the Republicans’ candidate has won, the group has embarked on the ultimate goal that they had set out to achieve. Their main aim is to pass an amendment to the constitution that in 2010 gave rise to super PACs. The End Citizens United decision has been said to interfere with the politics by introducing a lot of dark money into the country’s politics. The group has already collected more than 300,000 signatures and is planning to raise more. They have joined hands with a group that was supporting Hillary, ‘ready for Hillary’, to try and adds to the number of signatures. The group has more than 4 million followers. They are hoping that with the signatures from the other movement, they will attain the number needed to move the motion.

 

There have been other PACs which have been involved in the election process. Richard Carbo, the executive leader of the group, stated that the difference between the team and the many others was the fact that they were trying to make a change that would be tangible in the entire electioneering process and not just engage in the day’s politics for their personal gain. He added that going for a constitutional amendment might seem like a high bar even for them, observing that the last change had been made in 1992. However, he added that they understood that people who choose that path always face an uphill battle, and hence they were ready for what was coming.

 

Rick Hasen, a political analyst, looked at the ambition of the group from a very sober perspective. He stated that even if they managed to raise $100 million, getting the Supreme Court to listen would still be difficult. He, however, added that it was the role of groups such as end End Citizens United to ensure that the public continued to get the information they need about the processes of the Supreme Court.

 

The group, which is based in DC, has five members of staff. Even though they seem to have many odds stacked against them, they might conquer them and achieve the goal of getting an amendment to the End Citizens rule from the highest court of the land.