The Senate passed a tax bill, and End Citizens United has something to say about it. Tiffany Muller is the organization’s president, and she issued a press release that expressed the group’s thoughts on this legislation.
According to the release, End Citizens United stated that the Republican tax bill is not a gift to the American people like the Republicans have said. Instead, it only addresses the needs of their mega-donors. This legislation illuminates the fact that the political system is rigged to the benefit of those with a lot of money. These Republican representatives and senators have been taking money from large donors for the purpose of advancing their special interest agendas, and the result of that is on display with the passage of this new tax bill.
End Citizens United’s mission is to take “big money” out of the American political system. They unequivocally state that the tax bill is going to hurt middle class Americans, and the voters are going to remember it. This year is an election year, and End Citizens United plans to make sure that current senators and representatives are held accountable.
End Citizens United compiled a list of legislators whom they have named the “Big Money 20,” and 17 of these people voted in favor of the tax bill. The special interest groups spent $11.7 million on these legislators, and they, in turn, voted for measures that benefited the special interests rather than legislation that sought to reform the system.
Americans were not in favor of the GOP tax bill. The reason why appears to be the fact that the bill was intended to benefit the wealthiest Americans as well as large corporations. As a matter of fact, a Quinnipiac University poll showed that only three out of 10 Americans supported the legislation, and a poll by Gallup had results that were comparable to the Quinnipiac poll.
Today, we’re holding #BigMoney20 targets @DeanHeller, @RepMikeCoffman, and @RepErikPaulsen accountable with a $300,000 ad buy to tell them to put their constituents ahead of their mega-donors. #BigMoney20 https://t.co/koOvnhGBJl
— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) January 16, 2018
Although the legislation is highly unpopular, the Republicans were very eager to pass it, and one wonders why. The answer to this question can be found in the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United.
The Supreme Court decided in 2010 that the constitution allows labor unions and corporations to spend an unlimited amount of money on U.S. elections. This decision and others like it have increased the amount of money super-PACs and dark-money non-profits spent on campaigns. Therefore, Citizens United helped to create the big money atmosphere that is in existence now.
The result has been that people like the right-wing Koch brothers and the left-wing Tom Steyer can now be extremely influential over our elections. The focus is no longer on Democrat and Republican circles. It is now on institutions that are on the outside. Republican consultant Steve Schmidt stated that the decision encouraged political spending to be removed from candidates and political parties and placed elsewhere. Now, big money is being used to promote single issues.
Elected officials have shown that they are responsive to large donors. This principle was in place last year when donors were upset with the Republicans because they failed to pass any legislation. They vowed not to give these Republicans any more money until they passed something big like the tax bill.
— End Citizens United (@StopBigMoney) January 13, 2018
Lobbyist and fundraiser Bill Miller stated that the donors have only stopped giving to Republican legislators on a temporary basis. People have repeatedly told Mr. Miller that they are unwilling to donate at the moment because they are upset with the Republican Party.
Senator Lindsey Graham has said that if the tax bill did not pass, there would be dire consequences for the party. For example, many Republican candidates would face very challenging primary races and would probably lose those elections. Also, the base will be in a shambles. Of course, donors will stop giving to the Republican Party.
Legislators on both sides of the aisle are well aware of what large donors are thinking. Specifically, Republican lawmakers were openly concerned about what their large donors were going to think if they failed to pass the tax bill. Republican Chris Hill has even said that his donors were telling him not to ever call them if he didn’t get the bill passed.
The tax bill is not being driven just by Citizens United and big money donors. Another problem is the Republican belief that trickle down economics works even though the evidence says that this is not so. There is also the Trojan horse theory that states that the Republicans are going to use the deficit that the tax bill would create to reduce spending on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.
Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute stated that the fact that the Republicans were in such a big hurry to pass the bill without the involvement of Democrats and their failure to take the Joint Tax Committee’s recommendations into consideration demonstrate the Republicans’ need to pacify large donors.
ECU plans to target the Big Money 20 in their elections this year. They will do this by raising $35 million dollars from grassroots supporters and spending it to help defeat the Big Money 20 in their midterm elections. They will also financially support politicians who are in favor of campaign finance reform. At the top of the list are politicians who want to help ECU complete its mission of ending Citizens United. This was the decision that allowed big money to take over Washington’s political system and the reason that ECU was started on March 1, 2015.
Among the targeted Republicans on the list of the “Big Money 20” are Tom MacArthur of New Jersey, Pat Meehan of Pennsylvania and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania.
Tiffany Muller is open to working with Republicans on this issue, but at the moment, she doesn’t see anyone who is interested in championing campaign finance reform on the Republican side. Therefore, her only option is to concentrate on the Democrats. Ms. Muller will have her first campaign ads on the air in a couple of weeks, and she has $4.9 million to start.