The Expansion Of End Citizens United

Citizens United is a Supreme Court case written by the deceased Associate Justice Anton Scalia. The case involved campaign financing, in particular, the use of “dark money” donations made anonymously by wealthy donors through PACs (Political Action Committees).

The group Citizens United was a PAC which advocated unlimited, unidentified donations, i.e., dark money. Citizens United argued that the First Amendment protected unlimited campaign donations from unidentified donors. The Federal Election Commission argued that it should be allowed to regulate campaign contributions so that donations could be limited in amount and identified. The FEC is charged with monitoring federal elections, in particular, campaign financing.

In a 5-4 decision along what was seen as political lines, Scalia’s reasoning that dark money, donated anonymously by corporations, was protected was adopted because, supposedly, money was deemed to be “speech” and corporations were deemed to be “people.” The logic of this argument is bizarre.

The decision has been roundly criticized, and the organization End Citizens United has been at the forefront of the opposition to the undemocratic election process which Citizens United has fostered.

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It is fair to say that there is a battle going on which will determine if the United States of America will have a government run by the wealthy few or by the people in general. Will campaigns for federal office be funded by many small donations, or will campaigns be funded by massive donations from the wealthy few? There is no question that the government envisioned by the Founding Fathers was one of the people, by the people, and for the people. Similarly, there can hardly be any doubt that the ship of state has veered into an oligarchic mode. Government by, of, and for the people is weakened by unlimited campaign donations from a few wealthy people and corporations.

There is a clear, abiding, and overwhelming sense in the U.S.A today that the wealthy few have been using their vast wealth to buy elections. End Citizens United has taken up arms to divert the ship of state back onto a democratic course. Democracy has to be taken back at the ballot box.

Unfortunately, the 2016 Presidential race was not decided at the ballot box. It was decided in the Electoral College. The Electoral College was an undemocratic adjunct to the democratic form of government. James Madison was afraid that the many would dictate to the few. Unfortunately, the Electoral College is a vestige of the days when the nobility held the reins of power. Perhaps End Citizens United would see fit to eliminate the Electoral College from the electoral process as well as to curb the seizure of a democratic form of government which the decision in Citizens United represents.

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