In early 2010 the Supreme Court of the United States issued a ruling on a landmark case known as Citizens United v. FEC. This case was brought on by the conservative non-profit group Citizens United, whose mission is to limit the role of government and promote freedom of enterprise. Shortly before the Democratic presidential primaries in 2008, Citizens United wanted to air commercials for a documentary that featured then hopeful Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in a rather unfavorable way. The Federal Elections Commission (FEC) noted that this was a violation of the McCain-Feingold Act which prohibited corporations from using their general funds to engage in electioneering communications. Citizens United challenged this as unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, effectively changing the way campaigns are financed.
In an attempt to expand off of the momentum of the Citizens United ruling, the Republicans have introduced a tax bill that would pave the way for 503(c)(3) non-profit organizations to be able to directly endorse or oppose political candidates, which is currently prohibited if the organization wishes to retain their tax-exempt status. The Johnson Amendment is a crucial barrier separating Church and State, and the proposed tax bill would give mega-donors another avenue to dump massive amounts of money into political campaigns, this time with a tax-write off.
The Brady Amendment introduced in the new tax bill would allow pastors to endorse candidates directly through their platform within the church. Many Americans are in favor of keeping politics and religion separated, which is a crucial tenant of our democracy. If passed, the Republican tax bill would make it easier for the ultra-wealthy to use their money to influence elections, a luxury your average American does not have.
In response to the infamous Supreme Court case, a political action committee (PAC) called End Citizens United was created to promote more accountability and transparency in American elections. The PAC was established in early 2015 and aims to reform campaign finance laws to ensure that the majority of Americans, not those at the top, have an equal say in who represents them. The PAC runs a Twitter account, @stopbigmoney that has over 35,000 followers.
End Citizens United works to achieve their goals by making the issue of campaign finance a national issue. To do this, it is important to start by focusing on state ballot measures that are in favor of campaign finance reform. In addition, End Citizens United endorses candidates who believe that the system is rigged, and that we must fight the corporate mega-donors to restore democracy to the United States. Recently ECU has endorsed the following House candidates: Joe Neguse (CO-02), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Gretchen Driskell (MI-07), Angie Craig (MN-02), Susie Lee (NV-03), Ken Harbaugh (OH-07), Betsy Rader (OH-14), Daylin Leach (PA-07), Christina Hartman (PA-16) and Joe Cunningham (SC-01).
Focusing on grassroots efforts to elevate campaign finance reform to the forefront of election issues, End Citizens United hopes to help get candidates elected in the 2018 elections who will help make their end goal of reversing the disastrous Citizens United decision a reality. Learn more:http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/end-citizens-united-pac-wants-make-its-name-reality