End Citizens United Buys Advertising that Helps Conor Lamb Win Special Congressional Race
End Citizens United, a confusingly named PAC, endorsed Democrat Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district even though Lamb has vowed to take no corporate PAC money. The issues are complex, but dealing with them in politics is increasingly essential for responsible voters who want to know the issues and vote to support their positions.
End Citizens United, or ECU, committed to an advertising spend to support Lamb’s bid. The organization spent $250,000 to buy television ads that ran between February 26 and March 4 of 2018 for a candidate who has promised not to take any PAC money. Although it’s ironic, PACs have the right under Citizens United rules to spend money on behalf of any candidate that they choose. Lamb won the special election even though the opposition spent more than $10 million using PAC money and big contributions from wealthy donors.
Conor Lamb Stands Up for Pennsylvania Families
Conor Lamb charges that Pennsylvania families have been abandoned by Washington’s rigged systems that favor the wealthy. ECU President Tiffany Muller commented, “By taking the ‘No Corporate PAC Money pledge, he’s proving that his campaign is about people – not outside big-money special interests.”
Lamb also commented on Republicans and their penchant for favoring business and the wealthy: “We know our system isn’t working when politicians in Washington can’t find money for children’s health insurance but still find time to give big corporations a $1 trillion tax break.”
The ECU has committed money and volunteer time to elect officials who don’t rely on anonymous corporate donors. The rigged system In Washington thrives on undisclosed money from corporations and PACs according the ECU. Once politicians accept money from these special interests, they’re often obligated to do “favors” for these supporters. Since PACs don’t have to disclose their donations, these relationships never see the light of day. That’s why Americans often have little faith in their government. One recent study found that 90 percent of voters believe that special interests run the country.
Conor Lamb’s Opponent in Pennsylvania’s Special Election
Conor Lamb’s opponent in the election for a House seat in the 18th congressional district is Republican Rick Saccone, a state senator with a reputation for spending taxpayer money for personal benefits. According to the ECU, Saccone spent $437,172 on personal expenses. During a previous campaign, Saccone promised not to take advantage of lavish legislative perks in Harrisburg, but he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on himself after being elected.
End Citizens United was the first major group to support Lamb’s campaign, and its advertising on his behalf is funded by small-dollar donations. These donations average about $8.80 per person for the Lamb campaign in lieu of the millions of dollars that PACs can provide their candidates.
What Are Citizens United and End Citizens United?
Corporate influence of the political process is considered one of the greatest dangers to liberty according to some activists and the End Citizens United organization.
In 2010, a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Citizens United vs. FEC granted judicial permission for citizen’s action groups, unions, corporations and non-profits to spend unlimited amounts to support political candidates and causes anonymously. Opponents of the ruling believe that unregulated spending allows special interests and lobbyists unprecedented influence to control the legislative process and buy elections with corporate money. Citizens United is the umbrella term that refers to unregulated and unlimited spending for candidates and causes that the Supreme Court decision allowed in 2010.
End Citizens United is one of the fastest growing opposition groups to these unlimited corporate donations. This PAC spends money to support candidates opposed to Citizens United. The group uses grassroots techniques to energize its constituency to support ending what they perceive as Citizens United abuses of the political system. Supporters of the amendment are encouraging citizens to protest corporate greed, reveal corporate donations and “gifts,” distribute literature and engage the public with guerrilla marketing tactics such as street theater and holding impromptu demonstrations at political rallies, government institutions and public places.
Despite using PAC funds to support eliminating unregulated PAC spending, End Citizens United operates differently than big corporations and lobbyists. All the PAC’s efforts appear to concentrate on encouraging small-dollar donations from average citizens. The organization willingly discloses information about its efforts and maintains a high degree of transparency about who receives donations and which candidates it supports through independent advertising.
What Is the Core Mission of End Citizens United?
The core mission of End Citizens United is to solicit grassroots support and transparency to end unregulated political spending. The group feels that corporations and PACs aren’t people and don’t have the same rights as citizens. Key goals of the ECU include:
- Raising the issue of big money in politics higher in the public consciousness
- Electing candidates who support political-financing reform
- Using grassroots efforts to demonstrate growing political power
- Ending the power of “Big Money” to control the political process
- Working for state initiatives to reform election financing
Where Is ECU Headquartered?
End Citizens United is headquartered in Washington, D.C., 20035. Unlike corporate PACs, ECU provides clear information on all its donors and fundraising efforts. The information is broken down by party, amount of donation and other key benchmarks.
What Is the “Big Money 20?”
ECU’s Big Money 20 campaign involves the organization’s $35 million effort town priority races in the 2018 midterm elections to unseat the biggest users and supporters of PAC funds. The campaign focuses on reclaiming independent and unaffiliated voters who migrated to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
Who Is the President of ECU?
ECU President and Executive Director Tiffany Miller enjoys lots of experience in organizing grassroots campaigns to achieve major political goals. She has helped the organization grow to more than three million members while accepting average contributions that average only $14. Citizens can also find detailed information about Tiffany Miller and each of the ECU’s officers at the End Citizens United website.
Quotes from End Citizens United Supporters
The following four quotes capture the most critical abuses that End Citizens United members hope to stop:
- “What we have now is a situation where politicians get a whole bunch of money from mainly business interests. Then once they hold that office, they spend all their time in office paying back over and over again those campaign contributions through various favors and contracts and that sort of thing.” – Matt Taibbi
- ”I still do not understand how a corporation can have person-hood if it has no soul and never dies.” – Jon Stewart
- “You can help end corporate control of our democracy. Help pass local, state and national legislation revoking corporate personhood.” – Robert Silverstein
- “As a result of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, American democracy is being undermined by the ability of the Koch brothers and other billionaire families.” – Bennie Sanders
These quotes represent just a few of the memorable comments in support of ending Citizens United and its perceived abuses. Supporters of election-financing reform include former presidents, political activists, celebrities and journalists. Knowing the issues is critical for voters who want to vote for real change and reform. ECU supporters recommend that voters compare the organization’s transparency with President Trump’s refusal to reveal his tax records when determining whom to trust.
This is what’s wrong with our campaign finance system. This is what we’re fighting to change.
For more, you may want to check https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/04/how-to-reverse-citizens-united/471504/.