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Campaign finance reform activism resurges in America

Christian Alvarez, Copy Editor

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Political interest group End Citizens United,  launched in 2010, recently amped up its campaign to reverse the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by increasing advertisements and publication on several social media outlets and other online platforms.

With the recent primary elections underway, politicians, who remain in the running for the oval office, continue to utilize big money donations in order to boost their reputations. Along with the seasonal surge in political campaign spending, discussions pertaining campaign finance reform have also begun to reemerge. Several interest groups, including WolfPac and 99Rise, have continually pushed for amendments, such as Fair Elections Amendment, to be ratified so that politicians’ campaign spendings become fairly even across the playing field (wolf-pac.com & 99rise.org).

Similar to the approach of the two aforementioned interest groups, End Citizens United strives to tackle campaign finance through legislative means, but at the same time, utilizes grassroots activism to help persuade policy makers in all branches of government to overturn the Supreme Court decision made in Citizens United v. FEC (endcitizensunited.org).

In Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court voted five to four against government regulation of independent political expenditures by external benefactors, including for and non profit corporations, labor unions and other interest groups (oyez.org). Such contributions can range from simple PAC donations to unlimited super PACs. Furthermore, 501 (c)(4) groups can contribute to a politician’s campaign without disclosure or any limit so long as its campaign contribution fulfills specific criteria (American Government Roots and Reform).

PACs and super PACs serve as facets for wealthy citizens, including the Koch brothers, to drastically influence the outcome of elections and how policy agenda is set. Such a powerful ability available to only a limited group of the American population prompts political commentators and analysts, such as former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, to question whether or not wealth entirely determines the level of political efficacy a person possesses.

“At the rate we’re going, the 2016 election is likely to be the most expensive in history – and the moneyed interests will be responsible for most of it. Our democracy is broken, and we must fix it,” warns Reich in his blog post, “Big Picture: Get Big Money Out of Politics” (Robertreich.org).

Similar to Reich’s plea for an improved democracy through the reformatting of how money is involved in politics, End Citizens United aims to promote its agenda to the average American citizen in hopes of galvanizing a nationwide sentiment against the strong grasp of policymakers by the top one percent of America. End Citizens United’s grassroots campaign hopes to educate people on how they can evoke a significant change in American politics through direct application of pressure toward their representatives.

“We’ll show elected officials, candidates, voters and the press that the grassroots are fighting back with force against the increasing brazenness of billionaires trying to buy our elections. This will be key to building a broad coalition working towards campaign finance reform and pressuring lawmakers to take action,” states End Citizens United on their official website.

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The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.
Campaign finance reform activism resurges in America