End Citizens United (ECU), a political action committee (PAC) that wants politicians to represent their constituents instead of special interest groups that spend big money helping them get elected. Their name stems from the January 2010 case, Citizens United v. F.E.C., which determined that corporations are people, therefore, they are allowed to free speech and unlimited spending. Corporations can’t directly contribute to a candidate’s reelection fund, but they can spend whatever they like paying for media that urges people to vote for a candidate.
ECU is supporting candidates that are in favor of campaign finance reform. They are interested in defeating what they call the Big Money 20, which are incumbents who cater to special interest groups, instead of keeping their campaign promises or voting in the best interest of ordinary citizens. For example, Rep. Mike Coffman, who accepted over three-quarters of a million dollars from $770,000 from the oil and gas industry, voted to against holding the industry accountable for spills or environmental disasters. End Citizens United is supporting Coffman’s challenger, Jason Crow.
Founded in 2015, the Washington, DC-based PAC is led by President and Executive Director Tiffany Muller. At the end of 2017, End Citizens United announced a $35 million campaign to support the Big Money 20’s challengers in the 2018 congressional elections. When Muller was asked about the fact that all of the Big Money 20 are Republicans, she said that ECU would support a Republican who was sincerely interested in campaign finance reform. ECU conducts a great deal of research, which is freely available on their website.
Liz Watson, of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, received ECU’s most recent endorsement. She is not accepting any corporate PAC money and she’s promised to champion campaign finance reform. Her choice is becoming more popular among candidates who don’t want to owe special interests any favors once they are elected. ECU says more than 70 candidates have pledged to reject corporate PAC money.
So far, 16 of the challengers who have refused corporate PAC money have raised more money than their incumbent opponents. Muller is pleased; she points to a recent Gallop poll that found that a whopping 90 percent of Americans believe that the government officials cater to special interest groups that financed their campaign.
ECU files complaints with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) whenever they see a candidate allegedly breaking campaign finance laws, usually by having a super PAC coordinate with the candidate’s campaign, which is illegal.