Prior to the Citizens United ruling in 2010, campaign spending was regulated by the Federal Election Committee and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, which kept corporations from contributing to electioneering communications (political advertising) and other parties from producing their own communications without approval from the candidate. Citizens United challenged the laws and won based on their argument that the law was prohibiting free speech. The Supreme Court agreed with their argument believed the previous laws were meant to prohibit funding, not free speech.
Based on the precepts of the First Amendment, “The government may regulate corporate political speech through disclaimer and disclosure requirements, but it may not suppress that speech altogether.” Citizens United won the Supreme Court ruling with only one vote. The dissenting voices noted that there would most probably be a diminished voice for the individual when it was up against the extensive investment of corporations.
End Citizens United has been fighting that very outcome. Today’s corporations are huge, worth billions of dollars and willing to spend large portions of their wealth to support candidates. The chosen candidates are those who are willing to push the agendas of their big money constituents, like the recent tax cut that mainly benefitted corporations and the wealthy.
End Citizens United supports candidates mainly of the Democratic Party, because the big money is given to Republican candidates. Many Democratic candidates have vowed to fight for campaign reform and a reversal of the Citizens United decision. End Citizens United does not depend on donations from corporations; instead it raises funds through grassroots fundraising efforts. Individuals give as little as $14 each, yet End Citizens United has been able to give millions in support of certain Democratic candidates.
Some incumbent candidates for Representative who have been endorsed by End Citizens United include Elijah Cummings of Maryland’s 7th district, Eric Swalwell of California’s 15th district and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania’s 18th district. Among the many Senators End Citizens United supports are Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
The majority of the public believes the Citizens United ruling was wrong. Now, its just a matter of the concerned organizations along with the voices of American citizens fighting to get this decision reversed. American politics is riddled with problems: financing irregularities, lengthy campaign terms and an inadequate system for the removal of inept, corrupt and/or otherwise unsuitable elected candidates. End Citizens United seeks to reform the political election process from finances to campaign terms.
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