By Max Greenwood
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) political action committee is partnering with the group End Citizens United to bolster female candidates in the 2020 elections who advocate for campaign finance reform.
The joint effort by End Citizens United and Gillibrand’s group, Off the Sidelines, is slated to kick off later this month with a voting rights-focused roundtable in Los Angeles, the groups announced on Thursday.
The central focus of the partnership will be twofold: to advocate for campaign finance reforms aimed at curbing the influence of money in politics and to raise money for and advise female candidates who align themselves with the groups on those issues. The groups have not said which candidates they plan to boost in 2020.
“Take any problem in Washington, and the corrupting influence of money in politics is standing in the way of fixing it,” Gillibrand said in a statement to The Hill.
“Throughout my time in Congress, I’ve worked to increase transparency and make government work better for all New Yorkers. I’m excited to continue that mission working with End Citizens United to elect more reformers and women across the country. It’s not just good politics to combat corruption, it’s the right thing to do to create a true representative democracy.”
Gillibrand, who started her group in 2011 as part of an effort to elect more women to public office, launched her bid for the Democratic presidential nomination last year with a campaign largely centered on women’s issues.
She ended her White House bid last summer after struggling to gain traction in polls. Since then, she has pledged to raise at least $1 million to elect female candidates up and down the ballot in 2020. She relaunched Off the Sidelines last September as part of that pledge.
In a video announcing the partnership released Thursday, Tiffany Muller, the president of End Citizens United, said that the Democratic gains in the 2018 midterm elections were largely driven by female candidates and those who campaigned on campaign finance reform and anti-corruption issues.
“What we saw last cycle was voters across the country really joining together to elect champions of reform and actually flipping the House with these champions,” she said.
Gillibrand was among the first Democratic White House hopefuls to swear off campaign contributions from corporate PACs, pledging in 2018 – more than a year before she jumped into the presidential contest – to eschew donations from the political entities of for-profit companies, trade groups and law firms.
Since then, every Democratic presidential candidate has, at the very least, said they will not accept corporate PAC contributions, with the exception of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is self-funding his campaign and has said he will not solicit or accept donations.