As the mid-term elections move ever forward things are looking good for Democrats. So far thirty-four contested seats have been surrendered by Republicans, and the left is looking to gain even more. This is good news for grassroots PAC End Citizens United. The campaign-reform PAC formed in 2015, has been fighting the good fight against big money. Earlier this year they released their list of endorsed pro-reform candidates and many are doing well. Top of the list is Texas senatorial hopeful Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke is looking to unseat Ted Cruz who is fading down the stretch. Recent polls released by End Citizens United shows O’Rourke closing in on Cruz do to Cruz’s recent unpopularity.
In Wisconsin, senate hopeful Randy Bryce already has a promising start as Paul Ryan is not seeking re-election. Bryce is a strong choice for replacement, and has already garnered good support. His seat would be a legitimate upset for the right. Both Bryce and O’Rourke have managed to raise a considerable sum of money for their individual campaigns, and all without using big money PAC’s to do it. Learn more about the group on Crunchbase
End Citizens United was formed as a direct response to the 2010 Citizens United vs. FEC ruling. The ruling mandated that corporations be considered individuals, affording them freedom of speech rights under the constitution. This gives big business unrestricted ability to finance election campaigns. For many, most falling on the left, this bodes ill for minor and major elections. This means that campaigns can be bought, giving corporations direct lines to legislation. Many PAC’s have fought against this, chief amongst them being End Citizens United.
ECU is dedicated to revoking the Supreme Court decision by using legislation to undercut it. For this purpose, they advocate for pro-reform candidates, keep the reform subject in the national spectrum, and push for pro-reform legislation. Their goal is getting enough reform candidates seated, that legitimate legislation restricting big money PACs is passed. They will keep fighting until its done, and as the mid-terms continue ECU focus is unwavering. Although they are gaining ground, there is still a lot of road left to cover.
End Citizens United remains politically active, and the organization currently focuses on the Midterms. According to one Realvail editorial writer, one senatorial candidate and former governor of Florida exemplifies the reason why corporate money, or dark money as the End Citizens United political action committee calls it, out of politics. Former governor Rick Scott has used corporate graft to waste taxpayers money.
Realvail cites several examples of Scott’s corruption. Perhaps the most egregious is the example of Columbia/HCA. The health care companies ran a medical network that included hospitals, and several of its offices were found guilty of committing Medicare fraud. As governor, Scott also made sure that two of his political backers gained lucrative prison contracts with the state. Although End Citizens United does not try to end the privatized prison industry, it cites the industry as an example of how easily money can corrupt America’s political process.
It was reported in October 2017 by New York Times that George Soros has made a staggering donation of $18 billion to the Open Society Foundations. Soros, a banker, and hedge fund manager was listed in February 2017 as the world’s 19th richest person. His donation will further the philanthropic causes of the Open Society Foundations.
Originally from Hungary, George Soros moved to London, England in 1947. He attended the London School of Economics before beginning his career at Singer and Friedlander, a London based merchant bank. Soros worked for Singer and Friedlander for two years before transferring to F.M. Mayer in New York City. He worked there as a European stock specialist until 1959. That same year he became a European securities analyst at Wertheim & Co., also based in New York.
In 1963 Soros began working for Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder and worked his way to vice president of the company. During this time George Soros founded both the Double Eagle hedge fund and Soros Fund Management. The Double Eagle hedge fund grew from $4 million in 1969 to $12 million in 1973.In 1973 Soros left Arnhold and S. Bleichroeder, deciding to work full time as chairman of Soros Fund Management.
In the 1970’s Soros also began his foray into the world of philanthropy. He began to fund black students attending the University of Cape Town in apartheid-era South Africa. He also began to finance the operations of dissidents behind the Iron Curtain. Soros has a lengthy history of assisting in the fight against communism. He has spent many years promoting the peaceful democratization of countries formerly ruled by the Soviet Union. Conducted primarily by the Open Society Foundations, the results of these efforts can be seen today throughout Central and Eastern Europe.
Soros has also been active in the political world. In 2004 he began to back a new political fundraising association known as the Democracy Alliance. This group yearns to spread progressive ideas and further progressive causes. He has also donated to Transparency International, a group whose focus is eliminating corruption on all levels of government and in turn ending the crimes born out of corruption. Soros is also affiliated with the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, a group run in Zimbabwe by Godfrey Kanyenze. It is one of the main forces behind bringing about Democratic change in the region.
Soros has also implemented the Millennium Promise in Africa. Money from this promise goes towards ending extreme poverty in the continent through education, better agricultural practices, and modern medical care. Soros’s massive $18 billion donations will allow these efforts, and much more around the globe to continue and expand, spreading peace and education.