The political grounds in America are extremely complex, and at points, court case rulings have tremendous impact over time due to the ramifications and consequences that they carry through time. One of those rulings is the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision by the US Supreme Court in 2010.
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The ruling itself derives from a Citizens United refusal to disclose who paid for a 90-minute film titled Hillary: The Movie, which was found by the Federal Election Commission to be a campaign ad attacking then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in 2008. Citizens United sued the FEC even when the federal law at the time required the identification of sources of funds for political ads. In the first instance a federal court ruled unanimously to uphold the FEC decision, however, two years later, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the federal ruling by the minimum margin of 5-4. This ruling drastically changed the landscape of political life as it guaranteed the right to free speech to corporations, drastically changing the amendment’s spirit to protect individuals.
This change in the political landscape enabled corporations to significantly influence U.S. politics: After the ruling corporations could pour money into the political campaigns with minor traceability of the origins of the resources. Organizations such as End Citizens United have warned that this gives tremendous power to organizations that reflect the interest of the most powerful minorities and are significantly influenced by foreigners and foreign countries and effectively reduces the power of the voice of the average citizen.
This ruling has found significant resistance and criticism as it undermines the spirit of democracy where the electoral power is evenly distributed across individuals to be inclusive of all points of view. Political Action Committees such as End Citizens United has been actively involved in bringing the electoral power back to the people.
End Citizens United acts on two fronts: they support campaigns of candidates who have strongly pledged to reform the campaign finance laws and support all specific efforts to overturn Citizens United ruling. Beyond this efforts, the fundraising of End Citizens United mirrors the philosophy of the group by raising money through grassroots fundraising and unlocking the full potential of the small donor. This approach in itself is a direct counter to the big money campaigns that currently undermine the U.S. democracy.