End Citizens United has announced it’s support for U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse in his bid to win re-election in the 2018 elections. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse is a Democrat from Rhode Island who has served in the U. S. Senate since 2007. End Citizens United is a political action committee, founded in 2015, dedicated to the reversal of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision of 2010. Senator Whitehouse has been a frequent critic of this ruling, that makes it easy for corporations to influence our elections. The Senator from Rhode Island is known as a champion of campaign finance reform.
The Senator is so opposed to the decision he has written a book on the subject, Captured: The Corporate Infiltration of American Democracy, published in 2017. In his book, Whitehouse states his case for more transparency in political spending and donations. In recent Senate hearings, he questioned Neil Gorsuch about the massive amounts of money spent in the campaign to secure his Supreme Court nomination. Whitehouse sometimes accused of overlooking amounts donated to Democratic candidates; he remains steadfast in his opposition to Citizens United. There are two Republicans considering a challenge to his re-election. State Rep. Robert Nardolillo and Robert Flanders a retired state Supreme Court Justice are two possible candidates.
Since it’s founding in 2015 End Citizens United has grown from a small grassroots political action committee to a dominant force in electing candidates committed to ending the practice of allowing vast sums of untraceable money into our political system. The 2010 Supreme Court decision, known as Citizens United, makes it possible for unions, corporations and wealthy individuals to contribute unlimited funds to candidates they assume will further their causes. This practice has brought about the creation of what are known as super PACs that direct the donated money to wherever they choose.
The name itself, End Citizens United, best describes the mission of the committee. Their efforts directed to Democratic-aligned individuals who are determined to overturn this poor decision. Realizing it will take significant amounts of money to help elect like-minded candidates the committee has also formed a traditional PAC. In their first year of operation, they raised around $25 million to support candidates in the 2016 election cycle. The results for 2017 reflect the growing interest in End Citizens United, around 100,000 people made donations in the first quarter of the year, with 40,000 of those being first-time donors. Reaching over $4 million thus far with projections of over $35 million by the 2018 elections. The average contribution is $12, making it possible for the ordinary citizen to fight back against the super wealthy.
The election of Donald Trump has energized Democrats to take action and fight back against his nominees and agenda. One of the best ways to do this is to elect candidates who are willing to overturn Citizens United and return our elections to the citizens of the country.