In 2010, the Supreme Court decided Citizens United, a ruling that equated money donated to political causes and campaigns as free speech. Since then, billions of dollars have been spent by Super PAC’s (Political Action Committees) looking to influence United States Elections at the local, state and federal levels. Much of the money comes from wealthy citizens such as the Koch Brothers who look to gain political support for their favorite issues and causes.
However, in 2015 a new political action committee formed looking to combat what is seen as disastrous by Democracy advocates. End Citizens United is a PAC whose goal is well described their name. Not only does End Citizens United wish to reverse the Citizens United decision, it seeks to establish a constitutional amendment that will reverse the decision for good. So far the group has the received more than 300,000 signatures on a petition to introduce the necessary legislation to end the Citizens United decision by the needed constitutional amendment. The group has been largely supported by grass roots activism with the average donation to the PAC being around $14.
To carry out the PAC’s designated mission, they have taken up supporting democratic candidates who support the constitutional amendment and will actively campaign on it. The group hopes that by supporting such candidates, the infrastructure necessary to pass the constitutional amendment can begin to be built. Passing a constitutional amendment politically and logistically extremely difficult. For an amendment to be added to the Constitution, the amendment must receive a two-thirds majority support from both the United States Senate and House of Representatives. After that, three-fourths of states must ratify the change, each state with its own legislating bodies and politics that must approve of the amendment.
However, End Citizens United argues that the difficulty of the situation does mean its not worth the effort. The group carries out two essential roles, the first being spreading awareness of the Citizens United decision so the citizens will understand the effects of the decision on our democracy. The other is supporting the candidates who will either support a constitutional amendment ending the controversial court decision or will support nominees for Justices on the Supreme Court who will support overturning the decision. So far neither Donald Trump nor the leaders in the House and Senate republican majorities in congress have expressed a desire to overturn the decision, that is if those same members have not already expressed support for the decision. But by laying out the needed infrastructure now, within a few years it may be possible end the controversial ruling.