Here we go again, the talk of money with suspicious origins making its way into American politics is back again. There has been a cloud of suspicion hanging over last years Presidential election, with regards to who all were trying to influence it through campaign donations or other means. The Kremlin, it seems, was working through a Russian company, trying to get a slice of the pie, by paying for ads that could sway the elections towards the candidate they deemed friendly. That was not all. Even early on when there were still a few politicians running and hoping to get nominated, there were reports of foreign companies giving money to candidates.
One example would be, a company based in California with connections to Chinese citizens, gave as much as $1.3 million to a PAC that favored Jeb Bush. However, what makes the Russian case interesting is the manner in which they operated. They have a sophisticated setup of IT professionals who are in essence running a troll farm. This group was tasked with the job to come up with smear campaigns against Trump’s opponents. Whether they were successful or not, or if they even did this or not, will be decided by Robert Muller, who is investigating this angle.
It has been known for a while now that the right-wing has done anything it can to neutralize any laws concerning campaign finance. This has opened the doors to a few wealthy donors having almost unlimited access to power. All this, coupled with the foreign interference, makes it easy to see why American democracy is in great danger. The scary part is, if relatively friendly countries are meddling in the process, one can only imagine what the enemies are doing or capable of.
The news is not all dark when it comes to these and other revelations. There is a silver lining in the form of a group called End Citizens United, taking the fight for campaign finance reform to the doorsteps of the US government. It was started as a counter to Citizens United, which is a PAC run by a few ultra wealthy donors, with the intention of influencing policy in Washington D.C.
End Citizens United was started in 2015 because of a specific ruling by the Supreme Court of US. This ruling stated that corporations are indeed people, and that meant they could make donations for campaigns. There is also no limit when it comes to these donations. End Citizens United aims to combat this and other actions. The group is not funded by corporations, and wealthy individual donors, but by ordinary individuals making small contributions. Along with fighting large corporate donors, the group also strives to get pro-reform candidates elected, such as Doug Jones of Alabama.
Search more End Citizens United at http://www.politifact.com/personalities/end-citizens-united/