Dick Devos, as well as his wife Betsy, are two known mega-donors. They both come from wealthy families, and they have used their wealth in order to bring about change in the country and in their local community. They have made this their life mission.
One of the things that Dick Devos focused on a few years ago was giving more workers in Michigan a chance to work at a proper job and earn a living. Michigan has long been a place where organized labor ruled supreme and where a union membership was a condition for getting a job in many industries. Dick Devos’ right-to-work campaign changed that and gave many residents in Michigan more opportunities to work without the need to subject themselves to union rules.
One of the things that both Betsy Devos and Dick Devos have championed for is school choice. They have both worked for charter schools and campaigned for more support for these schools.
In fact, Dick Devos, with the backing and support of Betsy Devos, opened a charter school himself. It is called the West Michigan Aviation Academy, and it focuses on teaching kids how to fly planes. He started the school in 2010. Students like seventeen year old George Radashaw are able to fulfill their life dreams of learning how to fly planes in an educational environment.
The West Michigan Aviation Academy is a public school and is a nonprofit. It started out in the Gerald Ford Airport as a small school with just a handful of students, but it has since grown to over six hundred students, many of whom are bussed in from surrounding counties.
Another thing that Dick and Betsy did was found the Great Lakes Education Project. This is a political action committee that lobbies for education reform and school choice programs. They successfully blocked an attempt to make it harder for charter schools to open by requiring that they get approved by a special committee.
Also Known as ECU, End Citizens United is a political committee that is based in the United States. It is an organization that is committed to turn around the 2010 decision that was made by the US Supreme Court in the Citizens United versus the Federal Election Commission. The decision deregulated limits which are independent expenditure group spending against or for specific candidates. End Citizen United is committed on driving the big money out of politics and their goal is to elect the campaign-finance reform champions to the congress. This is done by raising and contributing money for the candidates and also running independent expenditures. The organization was established in 2015and began its operation in the first election cycle in the year 2016 with funding of over $25 million.
Since it was founded, End Citizens United has been able to endorse Democratic candidates like Hillary Clinton, Zephyr Teachout, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O’Rourke, Russ Feingold and also Jon Ossoff. ECU is also among the biggest outside organizations to assist in electing senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Maggie Hassan. This was during the elections of 2017 and it spent $4.4 million during the races. The established organization stated that by mid 2017 it had raised over $7.5 million from the grassroots donations. It also plans to come up approximately $35 million for the election cycle of 2018. End Citizens United is recently-founded political committee that is devoted to campaign finance reforms and is said to be a big player in the year 2016. The main mission of the organization is to funnel many millions of dollars to the Democratic Candidates who are running in Senate and Competitive House races throughout the United States.
Since it was established, End Citizens United has managed to raise a lot of money towards election campaigns and helped many candidates in acquiring their seats. The crucial goal of End Citizens United is to get ahead of a constitutional amendment so as to turn back the Citizens United decision which was made by the Supreme Court. Since 2006, over 325,000 individuals have managed to sign to the petition by End Citizens United that demands the congress to pass such legislation. Just recently, End Citizens United made announcement about their endorsement of eleven Democratic candidates who include Senator Michael Bennet of Colorado and Russ Feingold of Wisconsin who is a former senator. End Citizens United has plans to come up with an independent arm early next years in order to support the candidates financially via initiatives such as polling, television ads as well as direct mailers. The organization hopes to continue with its public awareness about the decision of Supreme Court as well as keep its political pressure on the Supreme Court and also other political actors.
The team at End Citizens United has been hard at work over the past two years as they’ve been fighting for and championing campaign finance reform. End Citizens United was established as a response to the catastrophic and disastrous ruling in 2010 surrounding the conservative propaganda group, Citizens United. Citizens United was spearheaded by a lawyer named James Bopp. Bopp argued before the Supreme Court that corporations were people and that donations they made were an extension of their ‘freedom of speech’. Of course, Citizens United was never interested in free speech and instead they were interested in opening the floodgates for political lobbyists to flood into the government. Now, further efforts have been undertaken by conservatives in order to destabilize campaign financing. This time, President Trump and his Republican majority are setting their sights on destroying the Johnson Amendment.
The Johnson Amendment was created in a bipartisan effort by Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon B Johnson. The goal of the Johnson Amendment was to put a filter in between religious institutions and their lobbying on behalf of politicians. In short, the Johnson Amendment traded tax-exempt status for churches to not use their pulpit as a political tool to campaign and finance politicians. The Johnson Amendment made its way onto the books in 1954 and since then it has been steadily gaining fire from those on the religious right wing of America’s political spectrum. Donald Trump made the loudest overture toward removing the Johnson Amendment with an executive order earlier this year that told the IRS to stop persecuting churches for breaking the law. The IRS is under no obligation to listen to Trump in this regard, but the latest Republican tax reform proposal puts even more pressure on the Johnson Amendment.
End Citizens United was established to champion campaign finance reform and PAC President Tiffany Muller has put supporting the Johnson Amendment at the top of their list. End Citizens United is trying to raise awareness for the importance of the Johnson Amendment in a coordinated, grassroots effort. Muller understands that if the Johnson Amendment were destroyed that it would put religious institutions into a position by which they could funnel money right into American politics. Churches would effectively become an open way for lobbyists to funnel money, tax free, into the United States government. If dark money and corporate interests are bad right now, imagine how bad it will be when these donors can use churches to write off their donations on their taxes.
End Citizens United has an uphill battle ahead of them as Republicans hold a majority at almost every level of the United States government. Only by raising awareness and motivating individuals via grassroots campaigning can there be hop of stopping this disastrous decision.
The current political atmosphere is not good for those who support fair and honest politics. Trump has already used executive orders to help loosen restrictions on the role of churches in the political process, but there is genuine fear things might be taken even further with the help of the GOP. End Citizens United wants to everything possible to make sure this doesn’t happen and to bring things back to the way they need to be. With the help of activists, donors, and people who simply want to make a difference, this is slowly but surely happening right before our eyes. Visit Wkipedia.org to know more.
The Johnson Amendment
The Johnson Amendment was created as a way to regulate campaign finance and prevent some of the more insidious ways politicians used to use nonprofits to influence politics. By amending the constitution to exclude this institutions from participating in politics Lyndon B Johnson played a key role in protecting the separation between church and state while also protecting the integrity of the political process. This is currently under threat thanks to the unfortunate rise of Donald Trump and his particular brand of politics.
What’s At Stake Here
The consequences of other campaign finance reforms has already made it clear there are many dangers to allowing these sort of changes to go uninterrupted. With the new rules being proposed by Trump we’ll see an entirely new age of corruption in politics through the use of shadow money to hide the true desires and motivations of politicians. It will make it almost impossible to get big money out of politics or to give the people who need a helping hand what they want. The need to fight this is clear for anybody who wants to see it. The consequences of failure are too great.
What Can Be Done?
So far the best thing that can be done is to support efforts to elect new leaders that will protect the Johnson Amendment. Current leadership is generally conservative and highly supportive of the efforts of Trump. Doing everything possible to give new leaders a change is exactly what needs to be done. However, the effort to change things has to begin at the right place. Nowhere is this more evident than the End Citizens United financing efforts and attempts to spread the important message.
People will eventually wake up to what’s happening around them and demand more answers. When that happens, it’s going to be the job of someone to give them a better understanding of what this all means for them. That’s exactly what End Citizens United is working to provide American citizens at the end of the day when it’s all said and done. Learn more:http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/end-citizens-united-pac-wants-make-its-name-reality