Big Money 20 members are top targets for End Citizens United in 2018
ECU has endorsed Abigail Spanberger, who is rejecting corporate PAC money; Brat has taken $180,000 from corporate PACs
End Citizens United (ECU) today named Rep. Dave Brat as the latest member of its Big Money 20, a list of the group’s top targets to defeat in November. The Big Money 20 represents the worst of Washington’s rigged system – politicians who do the bidding of their big donors at the expense of the American people. ECU will educate voters on these politicians who put the special interests that fund their campaigns over the needs of their constituents.
“Representative Dave Brat has become a top destination for Big Money special interests looking for influence in Congress,” said ECU President Tiffany Muller. “He secured a spot on the Big Money 20 because he has a terrible record of doing the bidding of mega-donors at the expense of hardworking Virginians. We’re mobilizing our grassroots members to help throw him out of office and elect Abigail Spanberger, a real reformer who’s running to fight for what matters most: families in the district.”
Brat, who campaigned against Wall Street’s stranglehold over Republicans in 2014, quickly changed his tune after he came to Congress. In 2017, Brat supported dismantling the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which protects Virginia families from fraud and abuse by Big Banks, by voting for the Financial Choice Act. The bill was heavily lobbied for by his donors. In March 2018, the American Bankers Association PAC gave Brat a $2,500 check two weeks after he supported a bill to curb financial regulations.
Rep. Brat’s purchasability was again on display during Betsy Devos’ nomination for Secretary of Education. On January 17, 2017, two mega-donor members of the Devos family gave the maximum contribution to Brat’s campaign. Just one week later, Brat led a letter signed by several members of the House to the Senate HELP committee issuing its support for Betsy Devos.
Brat’s most recent betrayal came when he voted in favor of the GOP tax bill, which would raise taxes on more than one million Virginians. His decision came after he was targeted as part of a multi-million dollar ad blitz by GOP mega-donors.
Over the past two years, ECU has conducted extensive polling and research showing that getting big money out of politics is a key issue for voters. In fact, independent and unaffiliated voters consistently rank it a high priority, ahead of or equal to jobs and health care. Two out of three voters believe the amount of money in politics affects “kitchen table” issues.
ECU endorsed Abigail Spanberger in April because of her commitment to reforming the rigged campaign finance system. Spanberger is highlighting her commitment by rejecting corporate PAC money and running a grassroots-powered campaign. Leading up to the VA-07 primary, ECU President Tiffany Muller and EMILY’s List VP of Campaigns Lucinda Guinn, traveled to the district and campaigned with Spanberger. In the first television ad of her campaign, Spanberger highlighted her rejection of corporate PAC money as well as her commitment to serving people first — not special interests.
End Citizens United is dedicated to getting Big Money out of politics. The group is working to elect members of Congress who will fight to overturn Citizens United and pass meaningful reforms. Established in 2015, End Citizens United has four million members, including 5,600 in VA-07, and is entirely grassroots-funded, with an average donation of just $14.
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