Press Releases

End Citizens United and Off the Sidelines Announce New Partnership to Elect Reformers Across the Country

Feb 20, 2020

Partnership combines two powerful forces driving Democratic wins: strong women candidates and campaign finance reform

ECU and OTS to campaign across the country for candidates committed to transparency, accountability and getting big money out of politics

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Today, End Citizens United (ECU) and Off the Sidelines (OTS) announced a first-of-its-kind partnership to take on money-in-politics and elect more women in 2020 and beyond. OTS, founded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in 2011 to elect more women to Congress, will join forces with ECU, the leading campaign finance reform organization, to support reformers across the country and ensure they have the resources to win. The partnership combines two of the most powerful forces that led to Democratic success in 2018: strong women candidates and the urgent need to get big money out of politics.

As part of the partnership, ECU and OTS will publicly campaign with chosen candidates to highlight transparency, accountability and the need to get big money out of politics, to raise money for select candidates and to provide strategic advice to campaigns.

“Senator Gillibrand has fought for transparency and to put power back into the hands of the people since the beginning of her career,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “Corporate special interests have a stranglehold over who represents us in Congress and especially serve as a barrier for women to run for office. We must get money out of politics to equal the playing field and create a democracy where everyone’s voice is heard. End Citizens United has always been proud to work with Senator Gillibrand as a bold leader on reform, and we look forward to continuing to work alongside her and Off the Sidelines.”

“Take any problem in Washington, and the corrupting influence of money in politics is standing in the way of fixing it,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “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.”

End Citizens United is dedicated to getting Big Money out of politics and fixing the rigged system in Washington so that the government works for all Americans. The reform group has raised more than $80 million from grassroots, small dollar donors since it launched in 2015. The average contribution is $14. In 2018, ECU helped elect nearly 60 challengers to the U.S. House, helping take back the majority. The group is leading the movement to reject corporate PAC money in elections.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was one of the first sitting senators to pledge to reject corporate PAC money and her leadership on the issue helped spark a movement of senators, the Demcoratic presidential primary field, and a wave of challengers to make ECU’s pledge to reject corporate contributions—a pledge credited with helping Democrats win back the House in 2018. Gillibrand is also an original co-sponsor of the For the People Act (S. 949), a once-in-a-generation anti-corruption and government ethics reform bill that passed the House in March of 2019.

Gillibrand has been a leader in government transparency and accountability since her first election to the House in 2006. Gillibrand was the first member of Congress to post her official meetings, personal financial disclosures, earmark requests, and taxes online. During her presidential campaign, Gillibrand rolled out a Clean Election Plan to create publicly funded federal elections, a proposal that earned praise from ethics experts.

Created in 2011, Off the Sidelines is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s call to action to American women and girls to become more involved in politics. Gillibrand started OTS as a reaction to the 2010 election—the first election cycle in 30 years in which women’s representation in Congress went backwards. Since its launch, Off the Sidelines has directly raised over $7 million for women candidates across the country and supported over 200 races, including almost 100 campaigns in the 2018 cycle. This cycle, Gillibrand has committed to raising an additional $1 million for women candidates for the Congress.

Two-thirds of women say it’s difficult to raise the money needed to run effectively and nine in ten women say fundraising influences their decision to run for a national or statewide seat. A bipartisan poll shows that a majority of voters see corruption in the political system as the most serious problem facing the country, especially among independents. The poll also finds that unlimited, undisclosed political contributions and the influence of big money in politics are seen as major problems.