Press Releases

10 Ways Citizens United is Damaging our Democracy

Jan 20, 2023

Tomorrow marks the 13 year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. Below are ten ways the decision has eroded our democracy.

  1. Outside groups have spent over $9 billion in federal elections since the Citizens United decision 13 years ago.

  1. Over $1 billion in untraceable “dark money” was spent in the 2020 cycle alone.

  1. Over 96% of all outside spending in federal elections over the past 30 years has come since Citizens United.

  1. Nearly $6.4 billion has been spent by super PACs since 2010 – almost 4X what it cost to make all eleven Star Wars movies.

  2. The top 100 mega donors in the 2022 cycle spent $1.2 billion – 60% more than given by all 3.7 million small donors that cycle.

  1. Wall Street has been the top industry contributor in federal elections since Citizens United with over $3.9 billion in contributions, including over $2 billion in just the past two election cycles.

  1. In the election cycles following the 2010 Citizens United decision, the pharmaceuticals / health products industry has given over $67 million to outside groups.

  2. The Gun lobby has spent over $171 million in outside spending since 2010, nearly three times more than what safety advocates have spent.

  1. Oil & gas companies accounted for over half of corporate contributions to outside groups in the 2020 cycle of over $1 million – with every contribution going to GOP super PACs and dark money groups.

  2. Corporate special interests gave $69.5 million to support insurrectionists members of Congress.

The Good News:

“Protecting democracy” was the top issue listed by voters as an “extremely important” reason they decided to vote in the 2022 election, with nearly 80% more likely to support a candidate who wants to ban dark money.