An Introduction to “End Citizens United”

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End Citizens United is a grassroots organization dedicated to overturning the landmark Supreme Court Case, Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Committee.

Citizens United is a conservative political action group (PAC). In 2008, they attempted to air a 90 minute movie on Hillary Clinton with the hope that it would smear her reputation. The Federal Elections Committee (FEC) ruled that this violated campaign finance laws. Its ruling was unanimously upheld in a federal court; however, when the case appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court, the FEC was overruled in a 5-4 decision.

Devastating consequences accompanied the new ruling: namely, that the right of free speech promised to individuals by the U.S. Constitution was extended to corporations. This makes possible a staggering new flood of money into an already saturated campaign finance system. Now, more than ever before, wealthy corporations are able to influence American political life.

Not surprisingly, then, many citizens and organizations have become greatly concerned that this ruling will undermine the very basis of democracy. They fear that the voice of the people will be lost amid the new and more powerful siren call of wealthy oligarchs. One of the most cogent and thoughtful critics of the ruling has been End Citizens United.

End Citizens United aims for nothing less than the undoing of the Citizens United ruling. The means by which they hope to accomplish this important goal are principally by supporting Democratic candidates all over the country. On a small scale these politicians can try to pass measures in individual states that can help curb loose campaign finance regulations one state at a time. However, the long-term vision of the organization is to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that clearly lays out precisely what free speech is, who has it, and to what extent corporations participate in it. In order to keep the candidates they support honest, they have wisely asked them sign pledges that they will not receive money from corporate PAC’s. This makes them accountable to the electorate.

Fittingly, End Citizens United seeks principally to gain donations from individuals. In doing so, they restore power to the individual, and stave off the corruption that follows from gigantic donations. With any luck, they will overturn the disastrous ruling and help restore our democracy.

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