The End Citizens United political action committee is off to a strong start in fundraising for the 2018 midterm elections. The group, which focuses on electing Democratic candidates to Congress who are in favor of campaign finance reform, raised $4 million in the first 3 months of 2017. The PAC expects to raise $35 million by the end of the year, both figures outperforming fundraising in 2016. The 100,000 people who have already donated in 2017 “feel like the system is rigged against them, where those who can write the biggest checks get the biggest say,” said Tiffany Muller, the PAC’s President and Executive Director.
End Citizens United was founded in 2015 in reaction to the 2010 Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United vs FEC. In a 5-4 vote the court found that, “political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.” Arguing that this ruling “rigs our system” and puts corporations above citizens, End Citizens United hopes to overturn this decision by electing lawmakers who will combat “big money” in politics.
The grassroots campaign focuses on electing Democrats running for Congress who are in favor of reform. John Ossoff, the Democrat who ran in Georgia’s special congressional election, received $500,000 in donations from members of the PAC. Despite Ossoff’s loss in the election, the PAC proved able to mobilize their members for pro-reform candidates. While the PAC acknowledges that there are Republican and Independent candidates who also agree with them on campaign finance reform, the challenge remains that the Republican leadership in Congress is unwilling to move on the issue. Electing Democrats passionate about campaign finance reform is the most effective way to remove money from politics.
This is not where their work ends, though. End Citizens United was active in the fight against the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education as well. The PAC advised Republican senators whose campaigns received money from the DeVos family to remove themselves from voting on her nomination. DeVos and her family have reportedly given millions of dollars to over 20 current Republican Senators.
As End Citizens United and other groups lay in the wake of a surprising 2016 election, the PAC continues to work toward their goal of electing pro-reform Democrats to Congress. In Early July they announced a new round of endorsements for the 2018 elections, voicing their support for over 20 sitting Congressmen and Senators. The PAC will connect their 3 million members to political campaigns to ensure the reelection of their “proven-champions of reform,” as well as Democrats challenging Republican incumbents.