Like a few other Supreme Court rulings, the Citizens United decision of 2010 is still being challenged by many. Roe vs. Wade is one ruling which many have challenged consistently since it was passed in 1973. The Citizens United (ECU) decision was handed down just a few years ago and it sparked huge blow back. A major opponent of the ruling is ECU, a political action committee that formed in the month of March 2015.
What the Citizens United decision entailed was giving corporations freedom of speech just like individuals have based on the First Amendment of the Constitution. In 2010, the Supreme Court decided corporations had the same rights as the individual to speak freely. Essentially corporations could give unlimited contributions to political campaigns if they put the money toward advertising. Unfortunately, this gave one party, the Republican party an unfair advantage because a large portion of their constituents headed corporations and were millionaires and billionaires.
A prime example of their Republican donors are the Koch Brothers, Fred and Charles Koch who own Koch Industries, a company out of Wichita, Kansas. Their company has many subsidiaries: Koch Minerals, Flint Hills Resources, Invista, Georgia-Pacific, Molex, Koch Pipeline, Koch Fertilizer, Matador Cattle Company, and Guardian Industries. In 2017, their combined net worth was over 100 billion. Koch Industries is the second largest privately owned business in the United States; consequently, they are in the position to completely back Republican candidates with ease. Keep in mind this is just one of the many corporate backers the Republicans get financial support from.
The Democratic party also has wealthy members, but they don’t predominantly own corporations. Instead, End Citizens United seeks candidates who hold the same beliefs that they do. End Citizens United specifically seek to support candidates who want campaign finance reform and plan to pursue it, if elected to office. So far, when ECU backs a candidate it solicits donations from the average citizen in amounts as low as $14.00 each.
With these small donations, End Citizens United has raised millions of dollars for their Democratic candidates. While it’s still an uphill battle, they are giving good candidates ample financial backing and many of them are winning their campaigns, which could eventually lead to a change in campaign finance law. Beto O’Rourke, Connor Lamb and Doug Jones are excellent examples of Democratic candidates supported by End Citizens United who won their elections for senate and representative in the last two years. End Citizens United is just getting started and they intend to fight until campaign finance change is cemented in the law.