In 2010, the U.S. election system underwent one of its most controversial and sweeping changes when the Supreme Court ruled on the Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission case; like many people I was shocked when the ruling allowed almost unlimited financial backing to be provided by wealthy donors to Super PAC’s they could establish themselves or to groups supporting candidates. Like the organizers of the End Citizens United PAC I was concerned originally by the fact wealthy donors were given the opportunity to have a major influence on the way the policy choices of major parties and candidates could now be influenced by donors providing funding, in theory, in return for policies friendly to themselves or their business interests. In their campaign materials, End Citizens United explain their belief the undue influence of major political donors has shaped the landscape since 2010 and should be brought to an end by a decision to repeal the ruling and accompanying legislation that made sweeping changes to the political landscape of the U.S.
The call for U.S. election finance reform seems to have struck a chord with voters like myself across the nation who are turning to the End Citizens United group in a bid to attempt to force a change in the way politics are performed across the country. I have been shocked at the level of support the End Citizens United group has been given over the course of its life since its formation in 2015. I expected a high level of donations to flood in during the 2016 Presidential election cycle that saw the group reach $25 million in campaign funding, but I have been amazed at the latest figures released for the first quarter of 2017 that shows the End Citizens United group has already seen $4 million pledged this year.
Not only does the sheer weight of the money pledged make happy reading for those, like myself, who support the end of the Citizens United, but the fact more than 100,000 donors have provided support has shown me that growing numbers of donors are reaching out to new areas of political interest over the course of their lives. Added to the fact 100,000 donors pledged funds over the first three months of 2017 is the knowledge that an estimated 40,000 of these donors were first time givers to a cause that appears to resonate with millions of American citizens who are worried by the growing influence of a small group of wealthy individuals. Achieving the goal of around $35 million in donations by the time of the 2018 midterm elections now seems to be a possibility for End Citizens United as they become one of the major PAC’s on the left side of U.S. politics.