In 2010 a ruling was given by the Supreme Court that changed the way corporations are viewed and how the campaign financing structure in the United States is set up. In Citizens United v. F.E.C., the court found that corporations, unions, as well as other associations were having their first amendment rights violated where independent expenditures are concerned. In other words, Corporations have the same right to free speech as private individuals and is free to fully express it during the election cycle. This expression takes the form of major campaign contributions that are funneled through Political Action Committees where they can be unlimited and go unchecked. This puts corporations and the billionaires who benefit from them at a great advantage over the average citizen when it comes to political influence. This strikes at the core of what American democracy is supposed to be.
Luckily there is End Citizens United, a grassroots organization started in 2015 to combat the unbridled influence special interests impose upon Washington. Under the leadership of Tiffany Muller, they are well on their way to achieving their goal of raising $35 million to contribute to like-minded candidates vying for office during the midterms. In rejecting corporate donations, End Citizens United boasts an average donation of $14! These donations are from private citizens who are vested in wresting control of political influence from special interests and putting it back in American’s hands where it belongs.
Pointing out the biggest special interest honks in Washington is important to highlight the problem the Citizens United case caused, and End Citizens United has put together their “Big Money 20” list to do so. These politicians represent the most flagrant violators when it comes to voting how the biggest contributors want them to. Here the problem with campaign finance stops being theoretical and becomes real.
Mike Coffman represents Colorado’s 6th congressional district but has been much more concerned with representing whichever donors will give the most to his campaign. Coffman has voted to repeal the Johnson Amendment which would have allowed churches to funnel tax-free donations to political campaigns. He has received almost a $1 million from Oil and Gas corporations and has returned the favor voting to loosen regulations holding those industries responsible for spills. He also has voted to block an amendment overturning the Citizens United case.
Running against Coffman for the Colorado seat is Jason Crow. Jason is an Army veteran who grew up with working class values like hard work, honesty, and fairness. After his military service, Jason returned to Colorado where he practiced law and acted as an advocate for fellow veterans across the country. Jason is committed to fairly and justly representing the people of Colorado’s 6th district and not the big business that wants to take advantage of it.
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— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) February 1, 2018