For the last three years, End Citizens United has worked to make it harder for big money to buy elections. In March of 2015 ECU was born in response to the 2010 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission (FEC). During the 2008 Presidential Primaries, the FEC blocked Citizens United from running a movie length ad attacking then Democratic nomination contender Hillary Clinton.
The ad violated Federal Campaign Finance Laws. The majority of justices ruled that corporations are human beings. The Citizens United ruling as it came to be known gave corporations greater power to influence election results.
In Texas, incumbent Republican Senator Ted Cruz is running for reelection. End Citizens United is endorsing his opponent Democrat Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke’s refuses to accept campaign contributions from Political Action Committees (PACs). This dovetails with ECU’s policy of only accepting political contributions from private citizens to put the outcome of elections back in the hands of the people.
Cruz’s campaign has almost twice the amount of money the O’Rourke camp has. Still, the last quarter showed that the strategy of grassroots fundraising that End Citizens United employ is viable. Private donations to O’Rourke totaled $2.4 million while PACs provided Cruz $1.9 million.
Keeping people aware of the power that big money interests wield in the electoral process is one of the objectives of End Citizens United. Getting campaign finance reform laws passed is another. End Citizens United provides funding to sympathetic organizers at the grassroots level. The organizers, in turn, disburse those funds to candidates and groups committed to severing the tie between politics and corporate money.
Ted Cruz is projected to retain his Senate seat. What’s encouraging is the way the points gap between the two candidates has narrowed. In March, the incumbent was ahead of the challenger by 18 percentage points. Since March Cruz’s lead over O’Rourke has dropped to 14 percentage points. This gain is owing in part to Beto O’Rourke eschewing PAC donations and the influence of End Citizens United’s endorsement. The race has demonstrated that grassroots political contributions can counter corporate campaign contributions.
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