Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District is up for grabs after another scandal-plagued Republican resigned his seat rather than face an investigation by the House Ethics Committee. Rep. Tim Murphy held the seat for 14 years before an extramarital affair and other shocking details came to light when proceedings from his divorce were made public.
Republicans have selected Pennsylvania state lawmaker Rick Saccone to run for Murphy’s set. Democrats have selected former federal prosecutor and Marine veteran Conor Lamb. This is Lamb’s first attempt at running for political office. The special election will be on March 13. The campaign has already witnessed the meddling effects of big money which is pouring in from outside sources. A blizzard of advertising and local media outlets are touting Saccone while trashing his Democratic rival.
But Conor Lamb will now also get some help from an powerful source, a political action committee called End Citizens United. It’s a group with significant resources, deep organization and a track record of success in helping Democrats win. End Citizens United formed in 2015. It’s goal is to bring about radical reform in American campaign finance rules. The people helming End Citizens United are appalled by the corrosive effect big money has had on American politics.
The influence a few wealthy elites on U.S. elections has long been a problem, but the situation worsened considerably in 2010 after the Supreme Court issued its notorious Citizen’s United ruling. The action made it possible for anyone – corporation or individual – to donate as much cash as they wanted to a candidate of choice.
The Conservative Supreme Court ruled that “corporations are people” and that “money is free speech.” By this reasoning, a giant corporation is the same as an American citizen. The billions in cash this “citizen” owns represents “free speech” — and thus cannot be curbed in any way.
The result has been the blatant “buying” of politicians by corporate interests. Those candidates tend to be Republicans. Once they get in office, the serve the interests of their wealthy donors at the expense of average American voters. End Citizens United is eager to back candidates such as Conor Lamb, a Democrat who will support efforts to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would cancel the Supreme Court ruling. Winning his seat is part of a larger effort by ECU to flip the U.S. House from Republican to Democratic control.
End Citizens United scored a significant victory by helping the Alabama U.S. Senate seat switch from Republican to Democrat when Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in a recent special election. The PAC spent some $600,000 helping Jones win. It’s a result End Citizen’s United is eager to repeat in Pennsylvania on March 13.