EL PASO, Tx — End Citizens United (ECU) today announced it is endorsing Representative Beto O’Rourke for U.S. Senate in Texas. As one of the strongest and most principled advocates for getting Big Money out of politics, O’Rourke has pledged not to take any special interest money and will entirely fund his campaign through individual donors.
“Our decision to endorse Beto was an easy one. He stands as a progressive champion and the future of our party with a determined focus to give the people a voice in our democracy. He’s running against the worst of Washington in Senator Ted Cruz who has sold out Texans for the special interests at every opportunity,” said End Citizens United President and Executive Director Tiffany Muller. “Beto is dedicated to reforming the system and has the grit to do right by the people of Texas. As we look ahead to 2018, we must focus on proven issues that resonate with voters across the political spectrum, like getting Big Money out of politics. There are few who can make that argument better than Beto.”
“I’m running to represent people, not corporations or special interests. That’s why I don’t take PAC money, and it’s why I’m grateful to have the support of End Citizens United,” said Beto O’Rourke. “Together we’re going to take back Texas, take back the Senate and — most importantly — take back our democracy.”
After coming to Washington to represent Texas’ 16th district, O’Rourke saw firsthand the corrupting effect money in politics has on Congress. In order to make sure he never put himself under the influence of special interests, O’Rourke has not accepted PAC money since 2014 – making him one of just six members in the House to do so.
In sharp contrast, O’Rourke’s opponent, Senator Ted Cruz, has fought to increase the role of Big Money. He’s introduced a bill that would let politicians take unlimited money from mega-donors directly into their campaign accounts. The problem of Washington politicians who are bought and sold by special interests would become exponentially worse if Cruz’s bill is ever signed into law. In his support for anti-campaign finance reform rulings, Cruz wrote an op-ed in defense of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and even accepted campaign donations from Citizens United, the infamous pro-Big Money group.
As a proven champion of campaign finance reform, O’Rourke is ECU’s first challenger endorsement. During his short time in Congress, he’s advocated for meaningful reform. In the House, O’Rourke co-sponsored the Democracy for All Amendment which would overturn the disastrous Citizens Uniteddecision that stated corporations are people. He introduced the No PAC Act which would prevent congressional candidates and members of Congress from taking PAC money or establishing a Leadership PAC. In fighting for transparency, O’Rourke introduced the Real Time Transparency Act which would let people see immediately who politicians are taking money from by requiring all contributions of $1,000 or more to be reported within 48 hours. An outspoken critic of secret Dark Money, O’Rourke co-sponsored the Get Foreign Money Out of Politics Act, which would close loopholes that allow foreign companies to spend money to influence American elections.
ECU is the first major endorsement for O’Rourke. The organization will connect its 157,000 members in Texas with O’Rourke’s campaign and activate its 330,000 grassroots donors to help ensure O’Rourke has the resources to take on the outside special interests. ECU will also elevate campaign finance reform as a critical campaign issue through a number of advocacy activities throughout the state.
As an example of ECU’s impact, the group played a critical role in the special election in GA-06. One of the first groups to endorse Jon Ossoff, ECU raised $1.4 million from over 36,000 members with an average donation of just $12. In 2016, ECU helped elect campaign finance reform champions New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto by exposing their opponents ties to Dark Money special interests.
The O’Rourke campaign also released a video on ECU’s endorsement: Watch here.