In 2015, the traditional PAC End Citizens United was formed with an eye on reversing the controversial Citizens United decision of the U.S. Supreme Court. The arrival of the PAC came after the 2010 Citizens United decision which came about when the planned broadcast of a 90-minute television show, “Hillary: The Movie” was challenged by the Federal Election Commission. Attorneys for the FEC claimed the movie was a 90-minute campaign ad and was an unfair use of funds on the eve of the Democratic primaries by a group who consistently failed to reveal where their funding was coming from.
The 2010 Citizens United decision was a controversial one from the outset as court case initially arrived at a Federal Court which ruled on the side of the FEC. After moving to the Supreme Court, the decision came down in favor of Citizens United by a vote of 5-4 with the statement released on behalf of the four dissenters stating this was a clear attack on both free speech and the democratic process of the U.S.
Upon its establishment, End Citizens United made the decision to work under the restrictive measures of the traditional Political Action Committee limiting member donations to $5,000 per election cycle. In 2017, the PAC stated it was on target to meet its goal of raising more than $35 million in funds for the 2018 Midterms with an average donation at the time of $14; grassroots funding is an important strategic point for ECU President Tiffany Muller as it allows the PAC to steer clear of the political influence of special interest groups.
There are many reasons why the use of grassroots funding has become an important part of the work of End Citizens United including the creation of a national network of activists all working towards the goal of election finance reform. Other benefits of grassroots funding include the fact local activists can become linked through their work for End Citizens United and form a much larger local network which works together on a regular basis to back left-leaning candidates for political office.
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