It all started with Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, where the United States Supreme Court stated that political expenditures by corporations and unions were free speech, therefore corporations could engage in unlimited election spending. The political action group End Citizens United wants to overturn Citizens United, ending the idea that corporations are people engaging in political speech when they contribute to Super PACs. As a political action committee (PAC), End Citizens United champions candidates that support campaign finance reform, especially candidates who are at a disadvantage as special interest groups back their opponent.
Nothing short of a constitutional amendment will alter the Supreme Court’s decision, which has not been done since 1992. Undaunted, End Citizens United focuses on raising public awareness regarding campaign finance reform. Passing a constitutional amendment requires two-thirds support from the House and the Senate, with three-fourths of the states ratifying the amendment. For now, End Citizens United works to get Democratic candidates who are sympathetic to the cause elected. During elections, End Citizens United lists the candidates that they are currently supporting.
Started in 2015, End Citizens United took in over $2 million in donations their first month. The donations were primarily small amounts, the direct opposite of the Super PACS that were unleashed after Citizens United decision. Super PACs gather unlimited donations, which they use to promote a candidate. End Citizens United says that this undisclosed political spending hurts the average American who cannot fight big money.
According to the End Citizens United website, the PAC has 3,000,000 members and they have raised $26 million from 270,000 donors. Finding new members isn’t difficult for End Citizens United since according to a recent survey of 1,000 registered voters indicated that only eighteen percent of voters favor Citizens United, while the majority oppose it. Voters also believe that groups using special interest money in elections are more of an issue than terrorism. People worry about billionaires influencing elections, however, End Citizens United wants to nullify the Supreme Court’s decision and bring transparency back by supporting Democratic candidates who will fight for election reform at all levels of government.