For over ten years, campaign finance laws and political contributions have been a source of controversy. In 2008, the conservative group Citizens United presented a documentary attacking Hillary Clinton’s candidacy for president of the United States. The Federal Election Commission viewed this documentary as a political ad, which meant that Citizens United had to disclose the names of the donors who helped to finance this film according to federal law. Citizens United filed a lawsuit to prevent this from happening. They lost in federal court but was successful in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The 2010 Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission was a 5-4 decision. The majority ruled that free speech rights that the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees to individuals also extend to corporations. This basically did away with the limitations that were put in place to prevent corporations from having too much influence on political candidates and elections. Read more news about the group on USA Today.
Can you guess our favorite takeaway from the 2018 primaries so far?
Spoiler: It has to do with rejecting corporate PAC money. https://t.co/4QwaxLs9fY
— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) September 7, 2018
There are two main concerns that came about due to this decision. First, many U.S. corporations are multinational entities. Because of this, people are concerned that foreign money would be used to influence the outcome of U.S. elections. Second, anonymous corporate donors could donate an unlimited amount of money. So far, the Supreme Court decision has largely benefited the Republican party, but the Democrat party has also benefited from this decision.
The PAC End Citizens United began in 2015 with the purpose of reversing the Citizens United decision. According to an article on XRepublic.net titled “End Citizens United: Fighting Against ‘Anything Goes’ Campaign Finance,” the PAC wants to accomplish two things. They want to support candidates that want to reform campaign finance laws and to establish a constitutional amendment that defines the free speech rights of individuals, not corporations.
End Citizens United is a strong advocate of grassroots political fundraising that can be used to offset the flood of corporate cash into the election process. Even though some Republican politicians have come out against Citizens United and its effects on the political process, End Citizens United primarily supports Democrat politicians who want to reform or reverse the Citizens United decision. People on both sides recognize that reform is needed in the campaign finance laws.