End Citizens United is an organization dedicated to overturning the 2010 decision by the Supreme Court of The United States that special interest groups, the super wealthy and corporations can contribute unlimited, untraceable funds to our electoral system. The goal of these groups is to elect candidates, and support initiatives they feel will further their interests. There are many ways End Citizens United (ECU) intends to fight back; one is to support candidates and initiatives starting at the state level.
On May 22 of this year, ECU announced their support for a proposed 2018 ballot initiative in the state of Missouri. This initiative known as the Clean Missouri ballot initiative is still in the signature collection stage. Once on the ballot, it is designed to increase transparency, and limit the influence of special interest groups in the state. There are several reforms in the initiative, perhaps the most important is designed to close so-called loopholes that allow several different political action committees to donate vast sums of money to one candidate. Tiffany Muller, the executive director of End Citizens United points out Eric Greitens, the governor of Missouri, has promised time and again to reform the system but in reality has used special interest money to promote his agenda. She further states Clean Missouri will lead to meaningful change and return power to the citizens of Missouri and assure them of a voice in their democracy. There are over 48,000 members of ECU in the state, and its state-level affiliate Fight for Reform will connect local activists and contributors to Clean Missouri’s ballot initiative. ECU has worked in Missouri in the past. In the last election cycle, ECU was very involved in the Missouri Senate race, endorsing Jason Kander and running $1.7 million in ads to support his candidacy.
In April, USA Today published an article about how End Citizens United is raising money to support their campaign to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision. So far the results have been very exciting, the group reported over $4 million collected in the first quarter of 2017. At this rate, ECU is projecting they will raise over $35 million by the 2018 midterm elections, representing a $10 million increase from 2016.
Tiffany Muller explains around 100,000 people contributed in the first three months of the year and over 40,000 of these were first-time donors. ECU feels there are several reasons for the increase in donations, among them President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. This tremendous increase in funds will make ECU the third largest PAC and assure them of having a major voice in the 2018 election cycle.