James Bopp is a lawyer who filed the infamous Citizens United lawsuit. A resident of Terre Haute, Indiana, he argued his client’s case before a three-judge federal panel that they should be able to air their movie, “Hillary: The Movie” on television during the Democratic presidential primaries. The movie, which was heavily critical of Hillary Clinton, was filled with insults about Hillary on everything from her policy positions to what clothing she wears.
The movie’s airing was blocked by the Federal Election Commission who decided that the movie was basically a long campaign ad and didn’t tell viewers who had financed it. In court, James Bopp had argued that the movie was similar to the content anyone could view on a show like 60 Minutes and thus should be able to be aired. This argument made one of the judges laugh at the ridiculousness of this argument.
A few years later nobody was laughing when the matter was decided by the United States Supreme Court. The nine justices somehow ruled 5-4 that James Bopp argument was correct and this resulted in more than 100 years of campaign financing law being invalidated. The Supreme Court said that companies have, the same as actual humans, the right to free speech as guaranteed by the First Amendment. They also ruled that corporations are for all intents and purposes basically humans with all the rights that entails. Additionally, they ruled that people and corporations should be able to donate money basically anonymously and not disclose who is paying for what advertising which was against all case law before it.
In the wake of this remarkably misguided ruling a political action committee was formed to fight against it, End Citizens United. Nowadays very wealthy individuals and corporations can spend as much as they desire in order to sway public opinion on candidates and political issues in order to get people to vote in a way that is advantageous for them. Instead of the country being guided under the rule of law and everyone being equal before the law those with the biggest wallets are now given the biggest say in which laws are implemented and how.
The outrageous situation the United States finds itself in after this Supreme Court ruling resulted in End Citizens United raising $25 million for the 2016 presidential election. After the win of Donald Trump and Republicans in that race End Citizens United is now raising even more money. They expect to raise a total of $35 million for the 2018 midterm elections now which is a big increase over earlier projections. The donations are rolling in from small donors with the average amount given equalling about $12. People are outraged across the nation and are willing to fight back in order to restore sanity through financial campaign reform efforts.
Check endcitizensunited.com for more information about this group.