James Bopp was made fun of in the court on January 2008. The white lawyer from Indiana was appearing before a three judge bench in Washington, DC. He was to make submissions that his client; the Citizens United, should be allowed the popular movie at that time; Hillary: The Movie. The movie was to show during the Democratic presidential primaries.
In the film, Citizens United showed Mrs. Hillary Clinton as a political schemer and a ruthless European socialist. The federal Elections Commission had denied the Citizens United the right to advertise or air the movie during the entire primaries season. The ban was necessitated by the fact that the film was a 90 minutes campaign message with no clear documentation on who was responsible for its payments. In court, James Bopp argued the movie was not in any way different from the 60 minutes videos, and the fact that as the content creator, his client deserved the first amendment protections. It is at this point that the US District judge, Lamberth laughed out loud protesting that the video could not be compared to a 60 minutes film.
Two years later, no one was laughing; the Supreme Court had overturned Lamberth decision. The Supreme Court also bought in most of Bopp’s argument erasing a century old precedent on the campaign financing law.
Citizen United is a culmination of various years of commitment by Bopp to make changes to the countries finance regulations. These rules were filed in very obscure cases that nobody expected Bopp to win. But, he is not done yet, Bopp is pursuing different challenges to practically dismantle every facet of the campaign-finance regulation.
During these three months, over 100,000 have made their contributions in support of PAC. Almost half of these people were making contributions for their first time. The vast number of subscriptions from the general public shows the high trust levels that the firm has gained in the past few years. According to the group management committee, the objective is to ensure that a campaign finance reform is realized in the congress. Tiffany Muller, the CEO, and president of the group argues that they are still in consideration of the different races that they should be fighting come the next elections.
The 2017 Presidential Election was, perhaps, the most divisive election that this country has seen in decades. Donald Trump brought in a new brand of rhetoric that was as alarming as it was destructive. Now, months after his inauguration, the country continues to stumble and struggle along. While Trump is the most obvious sign, the symptom of his rise has more to do with an event back in 2008 at the urging of an unassuming lawyer named James Bopp.
James Bopp is the voice and the muscle behind the work of the conservative group Citizens United. Their goal, from early on, has been to systematically dismantle the role of government regulation in terms of financing laws. Ultimately they hope to take down restrictions in order to open the floodgates of special interests, billionaire donors, and corporate lobbying. Unfortunately in 2010 this group succeeded.
Bopp and the Conservative United group argued before the Supreme Court for looser campaign financing restrictions. Their aim was to get more funding to the republican party by way of the millionaire and billionaire groups like the Koch Brothers. They succeeded, somehow. Since then dark money has become one of the biggest existential threats facing the United States of America. Fortunately this threat isn’t being ignored. A group named End Citizens United is valiantly standing up in opposition to the ruling in order to try and fight back and win their country for the people again, not the people with money.
End Citizens United is focused on raising $35 million in 2017 in order to help prop up progressive legislators for serious campaigns in 2018. In order to bring a constitutional amendment to the table to kill the Citizens United decision they are going to need high level progressives who have made their platform part of campaign financing reform. Tiffany Muller is the President of the End Citizens United political action committee and she has been capably guiding the company for the past two years.
Muller has been vocal about the reasons for their recent success in terms of fundraising. Muller points to the election of Donald Trump as a catalyzing moment. She points out that progressives and moderates are furious and that their voices are completely being shut out by a government that increasingly doesn’t care about them. With $4 million raised through just the early part of 2017 there seems to be a real means to success here.
End Citizens United is going to engage in the 2018 election process as if the country is counting on them — because it is. Backing Senator Elizabeth Warren gives End Citizens United some very real leverage in the progressive party. Now they just need to make sure their voice is heard by the voters.