“It’s time to fight back”, is the cry of End Citizen United. Since 2015, this grassroots supported organization has been engaged in a battle to end the group Citizens Untied.
Citizens United (a Super PAC) has been at the heart of the argument for the need to reform the amounts of and the way campaign donations are handled in the U.S.
At first glance Citizens United sounds like a great idea. However it is the operative word “citizens” that fuels the debate.
It is easy for the word citizen to invoke images of everyday ordinary people like you or I. However, the citizen in Citizens Untied refers to corporations being considered as people or “citizens” for the purpose of contributions to U.S. politicians.
This matter was taken up in the courts in a 2010 Supreme Court case, when Citizens United filed a claim against the F.E.C. asking for the regulating of corporate spending on the election of or the defeat of a candidate be repealed thus allowing corporations to be considered “citizens”, when it comes to campaign contribution.
The court in this case sided with Citizens United, and has since opened the door for Super PACs, like Citizens United, to spend exuberant amounts of money electing officials that represent corporate interest.
Now here comes End Citizens United. Their side to this argument is that corporations are able to buy political influence and with very little transparency. This creates a government that at times become more influenced by the large amounts of corporate campaign contributions while paying little to no attention to needs of the people.
Why is this? You may ask. Well simple in 2015 $4.4 billion was the estimated amount to be spent on television ads alone in the 2016 election. Keeping it simple, the more money spent on a campaign, the better chance a politician has to be elected.
This creates a direct conflict of interest with average American citizens that for the most part cannot afford to contribute to their candidates, and those who do, contribute on a much smaller individual scale of major corporations.
With out reform to limit the amount corporations can spend on elections, the current political scene, in which politicians (whose main job is to get re-elected) will continue to find it easier to pacify the opinion of one donator of a million dollars than to try to meet the demands of a million people who donate one dollar apiece.
During the first ¼ of 2017 Citizens Untied has already raised $4 million dollars, and is projected to hit the $35 million mark to fill the airwaves with negative ads in 2018, making it that much harder for politicians who have the ear if the people, but not the finances of Citizens United, to reach people. This is not democracy. Representation in government should never depend on the amount of money a citizen is able to spend. A political system where money influences representation was not the political system envisioned by the forefathers of this nation. This is not fair to the people, and this is why the need for End Citizens United is more prevalent than ever.