Its critics call it one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in history. The ruling which has come to be known as Citizens United unleashed the ability of wealthy and powerful corporations to “buy” candidates and place them in the highest levels of U.S. government, from the U.S. Congress all the way up to the President of the United States.
The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling was handed down by the Supreme Court in 2010. The effect was millions, even billions of “dark money” contributions flooding into political races – a situation which detractors of Citizens United say has disenfranchises the average American Citizen.
But now one group is fighting back. A new political action committee (PAC) called “End Citizens United” formed in 2015. Its goal is to raise money so that it can support political candidates who want to reverse what they see as the disastrous 2010 Supreme Court ruling.
End Citizens United is off to a fast start. During the 2016 election cycle, the group raised an astounding $25 million. The average contribution amount was just $12 to $14.50. That means that hundreds of thousands of “average, ordinary” people are chipping in to support the cause of ending Citizens United.
So far, more than 325,000 U.S. citizens have signed a petition which calls for dumping Citizens United, and for getting big money out of politics.
The effort for the coming 2018 election cycle is faring even better. End Citizens United officials hoped to raise another $25 million, but contributions are coming in so hot, it’s likely the group will raise $35 million, beating its original goal by a whopping $10 million.
Much of the money will be used to endorse mostly candidates running on the Democratic Party ticket. The reason is simple: Most Democrats oppose Citizens United and the unlimited amount of dark money that has flowed into the U.S. election process. Most Republicans, on the other hand, favor big money donations from wealthy individuals and gigantic corporations.
Overturning Citizens United will not be easy, no matter how much money End Citizens United raises for its effort. That’s because reversing a Supreme Court ruling will require a constitutional amendment, and that must win consent from two-thirds of the Senate and the House, but only after the measure ratified by three-fourths of the 50 states.
This will made even more difficult as long as Republicans continue to hold majorities in both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate. This is what makes the 2018 election cycle so critical End Citizens United backers say. Winning back at least one of the Congressional Houses will be the first major step toward the ultimate goal – ending Citizens United.