After the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that was delivered for Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, End Citizens United, a grassroots political action committee (PAC), immediately stepped into the arena to combat the lack of distrust that permeated the political process and alienated many of the constituents that candidates are supposed to represent. The PAC saw the ruling as a disastrous step in the wrong direction for transparency within the political system.
There are similar cases in the history of the Supreme Court that have generated the type of fierceness that America chooses to stand for as a nation. Examples of those cases are Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 and Roe v. Wade in 1973. In the beginning stages, those cases were also seen as controversial and contentious within America.
The Supreme Court’s ruling stems from Citizens United, a conservative group, choosing to televise an hour-long movie against 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The movie was being represented as an ad, which attacked Clinton’s stand on various issues. A complaint was filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The complaint required Citizens United to disclose the responsible party for funding the ad, as mandated by federal law, which the group refused. Citizens United lost the case against them. Although Clinton was no longer a candidate, and Obama was already sworn in as President, Citizens United challenged the FEC ruling with the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court ultimately overturned the FEC ruling with a five to four vote.
There has been a negative reaction to the ruling from groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union. However, the public-at-large has responded negatively to the ruling as well. Consistent polls indicate that Americans are disgusted by the lack of transparency with the millions of dollars that flows through the political system. The same polls indicate that Americans are in favor of limiting how super PAC’s use the money when supporting candidates.
End Citizens United has a two-part strategy that will not only overturn the ruling by the Supreme Court but also bring complete political funding transparency that voters deserve from their elected officials. The PAC plans to continue its pressure on candidates that are unsupportive of campaign finance reform, while also endorsing incumbents and challenger’s that are seeking a seat in Congress. End Citizens United has continued to identify members of Congress who are continuing to accept “dark money” and have identified the worst offenders by classifying them as the “Big Money 20.”
In 2016, End Citizens United raised more than $25 million from small donations, with averages of $14 per member. With endorsements of over 150 candidates, End Citizens United also garnered additional member support, resulting in a $35 million budget that is earmarked for the 2018 midterm elections.
Read More: endcitizensunited.org/our-team/