In 2010 the Supreme Court made a decision in Citizens United vs. F.E.C. which changed the way politicians can raise money in American elections. It did this by establishing the legal basis for the idea that corporations are people; people that can donate their money any way they see fit. This opened the door for the ultra-rich and special interest groups to spend unlimited amounts of money on American elections. There is no transparency, no accountability and, worst of all, no way to track the money. In short, the Citizens United decision allows the ultra rich to influence American politics more than ever before.
End Citizens United, is a political action committee, or PAC, that is dedicated to reforming political financing. They plan to do this by supporting the politicians that work toward overturning the Citizens United decision. By ending Citizens United, we would stop the unlimited flow of hidden campaign contributions that have been pouring into the American political system.
The PAC’s number one goal is a constitutional amendment; an amendment that would reverse the Citizens United decision. More than 325,000 people have signed End Citizens United’s petition demanding that Congress pass the necessary legislation. While it’s true there are many other PAC’s focused on finance reform, End Citizens United’s communications director, Richard Carbo says this PAC is different. “There was a hole in the conversation addressing the political side of
it and actually getting people elected who could change existing laws. That means backing candidates who are in favor of campaign finance reform, who will stand up against Citizens United. In addition to those who are under attack by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers and other related dark-money groups.”
The Koch brothers are possibly the biggest winners of the Citizens United decision. The Koch brothers are owners of the second largest privately run business in America, Koch Industries. According to Forbes, Koch Industries has an annual revenue of $115 billion dollars. The Koch’s where ordered to pay $30 million in civil penalties in 1996. The largest penalty in the history of U.S environmental law. The
penalty was levied for 312 oil spills across six states. Former EPA administrator Carol Browner, said of the Koch’s, “They simply did not believe the law applied to them.” According to a Bloomberg report, from 1999 to 2003, Koch Industries was assessed a further “$400 million in fines, penalties and judgments.”
A large portion of the Koch’s wealth still comes from oil refineries in Texas, Alaska and Minnesota. They also control more than 4,000 miles of oil pipeline throughout the United States. America as a country can’t afford to stand by while the ultra-rich like the Koch brothers use Super PAC’s to influence the outcome of elections.