End Citizens United is a grassroots funded political action committee, PAC, established in March 2015. It has dedicated itself to driving big money out of politics and reforming the campaign system. It is the grassroots’ platform for fighting against billionaires buying elections. Their way of fighting the war is through electing individuals who champion for reforms in campaign financing. They also support candidates who are victims of mega-donors, corporate, special interest and dark money groups.
In preparation for the 2018 political cycle, it announced its last round of endorsements on May 3rd, 2017. They endorsed Heidi Heitkamp, Sheldon Whitehouse and Bob Casey in the states of North Dakota, Rhode Island, and Pennsylvania respectively. These senators have fought against the tidal wave of big money buying elections and as such were easy to endorse. The ECU will connect the candidates with the over 143, 000 members of the grassroots in the region.
The ECU is planning to marshal its 330,000 political donors to provide resources which the candidates need to win. The political arena has felt the impact of the PAC. In the 2016 cycle, the first election it took part in, it helped elect 15 new Congress members by raising $25 million. It was the 3rd largest spending Political action committee. In the Georgia special election of April 18, 2017, the members of the ECU raised $900,000 to aid the election of Jon Ossof.
Since the beginning of the year, the End Citizen United has continually raised funds for the coming congress election in the midterm of 2018. It collected over $4 million in the first three months of the year alone. Close to 100,000 people contributed among whom 40,000 were first-time donors, an indication that more people are joining hands in the fight for reforms in the legislation of campaign financing. Raising more money is the only way to get big money out of elections and politics.
The political action committee plans to raise $35 million before the 2018 election. The president and the executive director of the PAC, Tiffany Mueller said that the average donation had reached $12 this year. Though it needs donations, it still operates within the boundaries of a traditional PAC. Therefore, End Citizens United cannot receive from an individual a donation greater than $5000.
The name, End Citizens United, alludes to the decision of the Supreme Court in 2010 that allowed union and corporations (Citizens United) to donate in candidate elections. The ruling led to the launch of Super PACs which can spend an unlimited amount of money in campaigning for a candidate. As a result, legislation has fallen in the hands of the person or groups with the largest paycheck. The ECU PAC is fighting back by electing candidates who can champion for reforms in campaign financing.