End Citizens United is a grassroots organization that was created on March 1st, 2015. The Political Action Committee is a direct response to the Supreme Court’s 2010 ruling allowing corporations, special interest groups, unions and billionaires to donate unlimited money to the political campaign of their choice. This ruling came without regulations or guidelines to reign in donation money and there is no accountability in terms of where campaign money is coming from. End Citizens United’s mission is to overturn the Citizens United ruling of 2010. End Citizens United went full force with its grassroots campaign in 2016, raising two million almost immediately with the backing of individual donors.
Currently, End Citizens United is endorsed by seventeen vetted candidates from across the United States including Scott Peters (CA -52), Elizabeth Esty (CT-05) and Stephanie Murphy (FL-07). Having the backing of endorsed candidates is the impetus needed to change the Citizens United ruling. Candidates who support End Citizens United will in turn receive financial backing from the group. While the task of overturning a Supreme Court ruling may be a daunting task, the group’s efforts will bring public awareness to the problem of unlimited streams of money being dumped into political campaigns.
In the first quarter of 2017, End Citizens United received four million in donations. With the 2018 midterm elections for Congress coming, they are on track to get donations of thirty-five million, up from the twenty-five million donated in 2016. With the election of President Trump fueling the fire, democrats are contributing an average of twelve dollars in 2017. The first portion of the year saw forty-thousand first time donors to the cause with a total of one hundred thousand supporters donating cash. They can’t accept individual donations over five-thousand dollars since the group is a traditional PAC.
End Citizens United are actively promoting Democratic candidates such as Jon Ossof from Georgia. Newcomer Jon Ossof rocked the Georgia political scene when he raised four million dollars to fill a vacant seat held by a Republican. The group is eyeing the 2018 elections as an opportunity to support candidates who will back their agenda. End Citizens United made an impact in the controversial nomination of Betsy DeVos by President Trump as the Education Secretary. While Vice President Pence cast the tie breaking vote in the split Democratic vs. Republican Senate vote to confirm her, End Citizens United worked with other organizations focused on the specific Republican Senators who’d received campaign donations from Betsy DeVos. The group requested those Senators to recuse themselves from the Betsy DeVos vote. Though Pence cast the winning vote in this case, End Citizens United proved themselves as a powerful organization for change.