End Citizens United (ECU) today announced it will target Rep. Erik Paulsen (MN-03) as part of its new Big Money 20 campaign – a $35 million effort focused on defeating the worst of Washington’s rigged system by educating voters on how their representatives, like Paulsen, prioritize the needs of special interests that fund their campaigns over the needs of their constituents.
“Congressman Paulsen represents a rigged system that puts mega-donors and the special interests above Minnesota families,” said Tiffany Muller, president of End Citizens United. “Donald Trump was elected on a promise to drain the swamp, but things are only getting worse in Washington. Erik Paulsen is one of the worst offenders and we will hold him accountable. We’re mobilizing our more than three million grassroots members to throw these politicians out of office and elect reformers who will focus on all of us, not just those who write the biggest checks.”
The Big Money 20 is the first concerted effort to reclaim independent and unaffiliated voters who voted for President Trump, but still heavily favor candidates who want to reform the rigged political system. The members of the Big Money 20 are incumbents who do the bidding of special interests like drug companies, Big Oil, Wall Street, and others with deep pockets while also voting to keep the rigged system in place.
For example, Paulsen, who has taken over $790,000 from the securities industry and $485,000 from the banking industry, voted against overhauling industry regulations after the 2008 financial crisis. A top recipient of campaign contributions from Equifax and the banking industry, Paulsen voted to eliminate protections for Minnesota consumers. Over his career, Paulsen has taken nearly $165,000 from the telecommunications industry and returned the favor this year by voting for a bill to allow internet companies to sell customer data without their consent.
In addition, Paulsen voted against campaign finance reforms that would ensure the American people know who is spending money in elections.
Here are a few examples of how the actions of the Big Money 20 have hurt their constituents, and millions of others across the country:
ECU plans to raise and spend $35 million this cycle from grassroots, small-dollar donors to defeat these politicians and elect champions of reform. The Big Money 20 campaign will be targeted at districts where the issue of reform has been proven to motivate and persuade voters, notably independents and unaffiliated voters as well as many white working class voters – many of whom voted for Trump and his populist, anti-establishment message of reforming the way business is done in Washington.
Over the past two years, ECU has conducted extensive polling and research showing that independent and unaffiliated voters rank getting money out of politics as a high priority, ahead of or equal to jobs and health care, and that two out of three voters believe the amount of money in politics affects “kitchen table” issues. The group has also seen widespread support for increasing transparency and accountability in the system including limits on what special interests like drug companies, the healthcare industry and Wall Street can spend to influence politicians.
Founded in 2015, ECU is a traditional political action committee (PAC) with more than three million members, including 6,600 in MN-03. Funded by small-dollar, grassroots donors who give an average contribution of just $14, ECU raised $25 million last cycle and helped elect 65 members of Congress, including three new U.S. Senators and 16 new U.S. Representatives. The group is dedicated to ending the corrosive influence of Big Money in politics and fixing our rigged political system by electing campaign finance reform champions, passing state ballot measures, and elevating the issue in the national conversation.
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