By: Tiffany Muller, President of End Citizens United
Politicians are beholden to big-money special interests in today’s rigged system. We’re fighting for reform.
Just about all of us agree that there’s too much money in our politics. Three-fourths of Americans, from both parties, believe corporate political donations lead to corruption. And nine out of 10 Americans blame money in politics as a top cause for dysfunction in Washington.
The torrent of corporate and special interest money that flows into our policymaking process — opened up by the 2010 Supreme Court decision, Citizens United — is corroding our democracy. In Nevada alone, outside spending in elections has increased by more than $87 million since the decision, undermining Nevadans’ representation in Congress.
Last week, the Review-Journal published an editorial attacking our endorsement of Democrat Susie Lee in Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District. The editorial said that Ms. Lee is in favor of banning books and that our organization wants to amend “the Bill of Rights to give federal censors the power to regulate political discourse.”
That’s just not true.
We’re pretty upfront about our mission — it’s right in our name, after all: End Citizens United. We — along with our 28,000 members in Nevada and our 3 million members across the United States — want to work ourselves out of a job by reversing the Citizens United decision and fixing our rigged political system.
Citizens United handed us a broken system designed to favor big spending special interests while leaving Nevada families behind. In a system where money reigns supreme, politicians are more accountable to their big-money donors than their constituents. Nothing is changing in Washington because many politicians too often honor the wishes of their special-interest donors, not the people who elect them.
What the editorial failed to grasp is that money does not equal speech. People are — and should be — free to express their political opinions. We’re focused on a different problem: A small group of special interests and wealthy individuals are afforded the ability to drown out the vast majority of the American people.
That leaves us with a corrupt government in which politicians are bought and sold by corporations and megadonors.
Back in June, Sen. Dean Heller publicly opposed the proposed repeal of the Affordable Care Act, saying he wouldn’t support any bill that cut Medicaid funding or reduced access. Opposed, that is, until he was pressured by his big campaign donors and special interests into throwing Nevadans under the bus and siding with big donors. Sen. Heller voted to take away the health care of 210,000 Nevadans to placate his megadonor friends.
A system that allows companies and megadonors to buy legislation is a broken system. We’re fighting on behalf of thousands of Nevadans and millions of Americans to fix it. We believe that a movement built up from the grassroots can change the way our politics operates.
That’s why we endorsed Susie Lee for the U.S. House of Representatives. Ms. Lee is a reformer who has dedicated her life to advocacy and public service, and she will ensure that the urgent needs of Nevadans are not lost in the demands of Big Money.
This is exactly why we need to end Citizens United. The Review-Journal’s outlandish claims distract from the corruption and abuses of politicians in power. But we won’t be distracted. We, along with Susie Lee, are standing up to special interests and the political megadonors so that regular people, not corporations and special interests, can call the shots.
Tiffany Muller is president of End Citizens United.