Press Releases

End Citizens United and Let America Vote Endorse Gov. John Hickenlooper; Name Gardner to “Big Money 20”

Apr 22, 2020

Gov. Hickenlooper is rejecting corporate PAC money and fighting to protect the right to vote

Sen. Gardner has taken $5.4 million from corporate PACs over the course of his political career

End Citizens United (ECU) and Let America Vote (LAV) today endorsed Governor John Hickenlooper for U.S. Senate in Colorado. Hickenlooper is highlighting his commitment to reforming our broken campaign finance system by running a grassroots-powered campaign and rejecting corporate PAC money.

The endorsement coincides with End Citizens United’s naming of Senator Cory Gardner to the Big Money 20, the group’s top targets to defeat in 2020. ECU’s Big Money 20 campaign is focused on defeating incumbents who are rigging the system for their own benefit and to favor their big money donors. The campaign will expose this corruption by showing voters how politicians like Senator Gardner put corporate special interest donors ahead of the people they’re supposed to represent.

“As Governor, John Hickenlooper’s independent perspective brought people together to get things done for Colorado and we need that same approach in Washington,” said ECU and LAV President Tiffany Muller. “Senator Gardner has proved time and again that his priorities are with corporate special interests, voting to cut protections for preexisting conditions while giving a $28 billion tax break to the pharmaceutical industry. John Hickenlooper doesn’t take a dime of corporate PAC money and that’s why Coloradans can count on him to fight for them instead of corporate special interests in Washington.”

“I am proud to receive the endorsement of End Citizens United, the country’s leading organization working to get big money out of politics,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “We know that Washington is broken and special interests are rigging the system to pad their pockets and make it even harder for the little guy to get ahead. I’m not taking corporate PAC money and I’m running for Senate to make Washington work for Colorado instead of corporate special interests. I look forward to working with End Citizens United to get our government working for the people again.”

The Big Money 20 aims to educate voters about incumbents who represent the worst of Washington corruption and rally support for reforming the political system. The members of the Big Money 20 are incumbents who take money from corporate special interests, mega-donors, and industries like Big Pharma and Big Oil and then put those interests ahead of their constituents.

Cory Gardner is one of the worst examples of corporate Big Money buying out politicians and has taken over $5.4 million from corporate PACs over the course of his career. Gardner owes his rise to power to dark money groups and is a favorite of the Koch network, frequently attending their lavish high-dollar donor retreats. The Koch’s political arm, Americans for Prosperity, sees Gardner as one of their most loyal lackeys and has already supported his 2020 reelection bid with $55,000 in independent expenditures so far. In the Senate, Gardner has taken hundreds of thousands from the pharmaceutical industry, while voting to gut protections for preexisting conditions and raise costs for consumers. Pharma corporate PACs have given over $480,000 to his campaign, including $30,000 in the first fundraising quarter of 2020 alone. Gardner has also come under fire recently for attending a “pricey champagne party” hosted by two of his big donors. The event, which included $1,000 dollar bottles of champagne, has led to a Senate Ethics complaint. Cory Gardner is working for Big Pharma and mega-donors, not Coloradans.

In recent election cycles, ECU has been active and engaged in Colorado. During the 2018 cycle, ECU made Colorado’s Sixth Congressional District a top priority and endorsed Jason Crow as part of the group’s first-ever no corporate PAC endorsements. Crow, who made anti-corruption a central theme in his campaign, proved that it was a salient message. ECU has also worked closely with Senator Michael Bennet on making comprehensive campaign finance reform a national priority. Bennet, who also rejects corporate PAC money, has been one of the fiercest advocates for reform in the Senate.

End Citizens United and Let America Vote (LAV) recently merged to combat the two biggest challenges facing our democracy: Big Money and voter suppression. ECU is dedicated to getting Big Money out of politics and fixing the rigged system in Washington so that the government works for all Americans. LAV is building a grassroots effort to fight back against voter suppression and protect every American’s right to vote. ECU has more than four million members nationwide, including 76,900 in Colorado, and is entirely grassroots-funded with an average donation of just $14.

For additional background on Gardner’s record and the Big Money 20, click here