The next big special election test for the Democratic part is March 13. On that day fresh-faced Democrat Conor Lamb will square off against Republican Rick Saccone for a Pennsylvania seat in the U.S. House. To date, Lamb has been massively outspent by right-wing special interest groups. They’re dumping truckloads of cash into ads and local media that support Saccone and trash Mr. Lamb.
So far, Conor Lamb has been running a highly local, grassroots campaign with little or no contributions from donors outside of Pennsylvania. But now a major political action committee (PAC) with significant financial resources and proven clout is getting behind the Democrat. That PAC is End Citizens United. It was formed in 2015 as a reaction to a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that allowed unlimited campaign money to flood the American election process. The ruling came to be known as the “Citizens United” decision.
End Citizens United wants to accomplish just what its name implies. It is working to overturn the Supreme Court action that makes it too easy for corporations and billionaires to “buy” legislators of their choice. Furthermore, the money allowed into the U.S. election system is most often “dark money.” There is little or no requirement to report who is giving how much to which candidate — a situation that has led to widespread corruption.
Democrats oppose this new system rigged by the wealthy elite, but Republicans have long been okay with it. That’s probably because they enjoy the majority of the billions in secret cash injected into elections. End Citizens United is aggressively supporting Democrats like Conor Lamb. Getting him elected would be one more seat toward returning the U.S. House to a Democratic majority, and that in turn would be a major step toward a Constitutional Amendment to kill the Supreme Court’s Citizens United disastrous ruling.
End Citizens United raised $25 million for the 2016 election cycle relying on a grassroots model. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens made an average donation of just $14. End Citizens United is on track to generate $35 million ahead of the 2018 midterms – a significant achievement because no corporate cash is involved. It’s money donated by the people for the people.
End Citizens United would face an almost impossible task of amending the U.S. Constitution without at least a Democrat-controlled House. Winning back both Houses of Congress would be even better. ECU needs a majority of lawmakers in Congress willing to make radical reforms in election finance rules.
A win by Conor Lamb would follow the significant victory of Democrat Doug Jones who defeated Republican Roy Moore in the recent Alabama Senate special election. End Citizens United played a major role in the Alabama race. Now it hopes to repeat that success in Pennsylvania.