Back in 2008, a lawyer named James Bopp who was from Indiana appeared in front of a federal three-judge panel in Washington, DC, to argue for his client. The topic in question was whether a nonprofit organization called Citizens United should be allowed to show Hillary: The Movie on on-demand TV during the Democratic presidential primaries. The movie portrayed Mrs. Clinton in a negative light, and the FEC told Citizens United that the film wasn’t permitted to be shown or spoken of during primary season because it was basically to a 90-minute campaign ad that didn’t credit who funded it. Bopp argued in court that the movie was somewhat similar to 60 Minutes, and that its creators deserved First Amendment protections.
At hearing this, the US District Court Judge laughed and said that the film couldn’t be compared to 60 Minutes.
Two years later, the Supreme Court reversed the ruling and said that corporations already have First Amendment rights, like average voters, and to prevent them from spending money for their preferred candidate or against the other is unconstitutional.
Citizens United is the result of many years of Bopp’s work to slowly break down the nation’s campaign-finance regulations, and while his methods are unconventional they are also effective.
James Bopp works out of Terre Haute, Indiana, which he finds more practical as it not only gives opportunities for him to take on nonprofit clients, but keeps him close to his three daughters.
End Citizens United, which is a political action committee intent on sending big money out of politics, collected more than $4 million just in the first few months of this year. Estimation is that they will raise $35 million with plenty of time for the 2018 midterm elections for Congress. The first election cycle End Citizens United had, in 2016, they raised $25 million dollars.
In the first quarter of this year, around 100,000 contributed, and 40,000 of those were new. There are many influences behind the donations, but a couple have to do with the donors feeling like the system is set against them as well as the Democratic fury at Donald Trump being elected.
Since End Citizens United operates as a regular PAC, or political action committee, they aren’t able to accept donations higher than $5,000 from an individual donor, but even with limitations they’re still reaching record numbers in received donations.