Despite the fact that single-issue campaigns sometimes seem like a relic of the past, End Citizens United is making a sustained effort to demonstrate that discussing campaign finance reform can change the balance of power in American politics.
During the past few decades, both the left and the right elevated certain political issues in the hopes of awakening certain blocs of voters in election years. Both sides have leveraged the abortion issue, for example. The right has activated voters and influenced politicians through the National Rifle Association. Meanwhile, liberal-minded organizations such as MoveOn.org gained steam in times of war by getting the left active and protesting.
In recent years, big elections seem to swing more based on personality-driven leadership than anything else. The presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Donald Trump prove this point.
However, End Citizens United, a political action committee (PAC) based in Washington, DC, is gaining momentum as a force in election years by focusing on campaign finance reform. In the wake of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that removed certain limits on corporate funding of electoral campaigns, the PAC was created to reflect a grassroots desire to reduce the influence of corporate interests on American politics.
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While End Citizens United seeks to be a lasting presence in the political landscape, the organization has an urgent focus for 2016. The PAC is seeking to shake things up in November by raising and spending $35 million on congressional races in a very targeted way.
The organization is targeting the defeat of 20 Republican incumbents on its “Big Money 20” list. The list includes lawmakers who End Citizens United’s president Tiffany Muller describes as “the worst of the worst.”
Muller, a former Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee operative who also served as chief of staff to two members of Congress, is leading the PAC to create excitement on the left by generating fear among officeholders on the right.
Not only does End Citizens United call out elected officials who have the tightest ties to corporate political funding, but it also endorses and provides grassroots funding to candidates who will lead the fight for campaign finance reform.
Recently, the PAC succeeded in securing Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s pledge to reject any corporate funding of her campaign. The New York lawmaker is seen as a rising star in the Democratic Party, and thus her pledge could influence many others to also refuse corporate dollars. Meanwhile, Gillibrand’s stature as a possible presidential candidate expands her influence even more heading into the future.
End Citizens United does not, however, just put its support behind one or two flashy popular politicians. The PAC has endorsed dozens of Democratic incumbents and challengers who it thinks will help bring much needed campaign finance reform.
— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) February 1, 2018