End Citizens United: How A Traditional PAC Is Changing U.S. Politics
The 21st-century is supposed to be the political era of the Super PAC and billionaire donors who take advantage of the lack of restriction regarding the amount of financing donors can provide to individual politicians. In 2015, End Citizens United was formed as a traditional PAC with members limited to donations of just $5,000 per election cycle which pales into almost insignificance when compared to the more than $20 million spent on various elections by right-wing donors such as the Koch Brothers and the left-leaning George Soros.
However, End Citizens United has been making major inroads into the power of influential donors who the President of the PAC, Tiffany Muller explains expect something in return for their financial support of a candidate. End Citizens United has targeted some of the leading Republicans for the 2018 Midterms who the leaders of the organization believe have put the needs of their donors ahead of their constituents; in Texas, news of the more than $1 million donated by special interest groups flips polls from an eight-point deficit for Democrat Beto O’Rourke to a two-point lead in an End Citizens United poll.
End Citizens United has burst onto the political scene and declared its intention to work towards producing a reversal of the divisive Citizens United decision of 2010 which eliminated caps on political donations during election cycles. The PAC believes the arrival of big money in U.S. politics has shifted the power away from the hands of the electorate and into the laps of those individuals and groups with the most money. Despite the grassroots nature of donations made to End Citizens United, the PAC managed to spend over $20 million on elections during the 2016 election cycle and hopes to raise more than $30 million by the time of the 2018 Midterms.
Upon its formation, End Citizens United created a pledge for candidates it is endorsing stating they would turn their backs on the donations of corporate PACs and wealthy donors in favor of grassroots-funded campaigns. New York-based Democrat, Kristin Gillibrand became one of the most recent endorsements of End Citizens United after she became one of the more than 70 liberal politicians to sign the pledge and refuse around $1 million worth of campaign funding.
The End Citizens United PAC is not only concerned with election campaigning but has also been looking to highlight the attempts being made to erode the restrictions of political donations being sought by right-wing groups. A recent attempt to allow Church groups to make campaign donations by reducing the impact of the Johnson Amendment which bans religious groups from making campaign contributions during election cycles.