Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Is EndCitizensUnited.org A Scam?


Getting unlimited, barely regulated Big Money out of electoral politics-- overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United corporate-personhood decision-- has become a holy grail of progressive politics. And rightfully, fundamentally so. Bernie Sanders, the only actual progressive running for president, said in May that "if elected I will have a litmus test of my nominee to be a Supreme Court justice. And that nominee will say, we are going to overturn this disastrous decision on Citizens United because that decision is undermining American democracy." In January he filed a constitutional amendment that would overturn the decision. Even the corporate Democrat running for president, Hillary Clinton, says she opposes Citizens United.

On March 1 an organization dedicated to overturning the decision was launched with claims of being a grassroots effort, EndCitizensUnited.org. They define their tactical mission as making
a big splash in 2016 election. We plan to support Democrats in key races who are in favor of meaningful reform to our campaign finance system and who will stand up against Citizens United. We also will stand up for candidates who are under attack by the Koch Brothers and related dark money groups. Why Democrats? Democrats are leading the fight against Citizens United, and we believe meaningful change can happen with their leadership. Even though many Republican and Independent voters agree that undisclosed political spending is out of control, Republican leadership in Congress is standing squarely in the way of overturning this disastrous Supreme Court decision. It has to stop. So we will do what we can to support candidates who are champions for meaningful campaign finance reform.
They list both the DCCC and the DSCC as institutional supporters, and the organization is run by a former Obama operative from Texas, Jessica Adair. Over the 4th of July weekend, Adair sent out a fundraising e-mail to progressives, including people who had never signed up to get e-mails from the organization. The e-mail read suspiciously like the kind of garbage e-mails the DCCC and DSCC flood everyone's inboxes with. "Did you miss this, Howard?," it began. "On Thursday, we announced End Citizen United PAC's FIRST round of endorsements. Can you chip in $12 or more right now directly to their campaigns?" And then she thanked me for my supposed past support-- an assumption at best, but more likely a manipulative tactic.

It’s hard to believe how big this organization has grown-- more than 8OO,OOO people dedicated to ending Citizens United.

Thanks to your incredible support, we’re now in a position to start making waves by supporting candidates who are champions of campaign finance reform. I’m proud to announce our first endorsements:

...Please consider a donation of $36 directly to these champions of campaign finance reform... Thank you for everything you’ve done to help this organization grow and thrive.
The e-mail smelled to high heaven, and the more I looked into the group, the less grassroots or progressive credibility I found. Its website looks like a phishing operation to collect e-mail addresses for partisan Democratic Party operations like the aforementioned DCCC and DSCC. The website's domain registration is hidden from the public-- very suspicious for a "grassroots organization." It smells like a scam, a New Dem/Blue Dog/DCCC scam using Russ Feingold as bait to lure naive, uninformed progressives into sending unaccountable cash.

I hit reply and sent them an e-mail about their list of endorsees, 9 out of 11 of whom are grotesque DINOs who have spent their time in Congress crossing the aisle and voting with the Republicans-- Blue Dog shitheads like Kyrsten Sinema and Cheri Bustos and utterly worthless New Dems like Pete Aguilar, Scott Peters, Ann Kuster and Ami Bera. And the only senator on the list is DSCC chair Michael Bennet, one of the worst Democrats in that body. Stinky!

The reply was an automated plea for money, typical of what one would expect from grifters. Beware.

[Note: the only candidates this outfit has endorsed who deserve progressive support are Russ Feingold, running to regain his old Wisconsin Senate seat, and Minnesota 8th District Congressman Rick Nolan, two of the only progressives supported by the DCCC and DSCC.] And now, predictably, these scammers have also endorsed "ex"-Republican-- and no friend of reform-- Patrick Murphy, a right-of-center and über-corrupt Florida New Dem.



At 7:48 AM, Blogger dog gone said...

We need something to undo Citizens United.

This appears to have hijacked that very real need -- good job!

At 9:40 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

We do, but these grifters aren't the ones to do it. There are several very reputable groups (from People for the American Way to Public Citizen to Lawrence Lessig's outfit, working on-- and several Members of Congress, like Bernie Sanders, Donna Edwards, Alan Grayson and the Progressive Caucus prioritizing it in a big way. These people look-- at me at least-- as a bunch of party hacks trying to get rotten, worthless Blue Dogs and New Dems reelected.

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Putting Feingold at the top left tells me two things: this organization knows he has credibility and that they can't get money from the democratic wing of the Democratic Party without cover.

At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sneakiness is unappealing.

At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a post on Dkos

In the comments there is some information about who registered the site

"The FEC form is signed by Brian Foucart, apparently a long-time Dem functionary. Perhaps someday Mr. Foucart will explain -- somewhere -- why this PAC and its high pressure solicitation tactics are necessary and/or a good idea. And how the money is being spent. "

At 5:55 PM, Blogger Randy Collins said...

Thank you for this informative post. I almost half-heartedly decided to check into endcitizensunited.org for due diligence sake, but thinking that they must surely be legit, since the cause is such a righteous one. Your post was a wake up call that I must not trust anyone asking for my money via the in box.

At 2:26 PM, Blogger William J. Kelleher, Ph.D. said...

Thanks for this post. Glad I never sent them any dough. But no constitutional amendment is needed to sideline the power of Big Money in US elections. Learn How Internet Voting CAN #GetMoneyOut https://shar.es/17q78r via Thom Hartmann
William J. Kelleher, Ph.D.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Paul Lauenstein said...

The Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot with their scurrilous EndCitizensUnited campaign. Yes, the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision is a disaster for our country, but manipulating the widespread desire to reverse Citizens United for fundraising purposes is counter-productive. Deceiving people is not the way to win hearts and minds.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger Lindsay said...

I sent them a few bucks and got spammed - several times a day - with their doomsday-panic fund appeals. I trued to unsubscribe, but the unsubscription system on their bulk mail server didn't work and I couldn't do it. Fortunately, I run my own mail server and so I blocked them at the front door and now they can't get email to me.

At 8:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this report.

After getting to the point of receiving seven different money-seeking emails in one day from these scoundrels, and hopelessly attempting to find any accountable information about their activities, what they are actually doing, or any accountable structure, it is very clear that these are, as sell-characterized above, a pack of grifters.

At 9:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

They have been spamming me incessantly, in spite of at least three demands from me that they cease and desist. I get two or three emails from them every single day, and I never knowingly asked them to send me anything.

At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Same experience. I think I may have signed a petition with their first email, and I really regret getting involved. Their incessant email solicitations are a real turn off. Like others, I have tried to unsubscribe with no success. I have never sent them a dime and wonder if anyone knows how to get rid of them.

At 7:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WoW, I was just minutes away from a donation when my rational side finally woke up screaming at me! The relentless emails, shady website domain and utter lack of any real activity from these scammers almost got me... I completely agree with you and hope this comment helps bump you pages ranking so more people can see the truth about this organization.

At 12:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The post raises very good points. It also is worth noting that they are spamming scum. Constant E-Mails without content and refusing to honor requests to unsubscribe.

Maybe a Koch Brothers front.

At 11:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This group endorsed former Republican Monica Vernon in Iowa. I saw Monica at our county convention with Pat Murphy. Pat asked her to sign a pledge to reject outside spending and super PACs and Monica refused. Then I found out she took $9,500 from this group - outrageous!

At 3:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ECU is no doubt a Democratic Party scam. But it is only the top of many layers of scams that surround this issue like an onion and is the principal reason for lack of any progress whatsoever in getting money out of politics, notwithstanding the nearly unanimous public opinion on the subject, aside from the approximately 15% who profit from the plutocracy.
1. The trope "End Citizens United" is itself a scam, since even Jeb Bush is against Citizens United. See http://www.opednews.com/articles/1/Is-JEB-Defecting-from-the-by-Rob-Hager-Corruption_Money_Money_Obama-160210-823.html Hillary Clinton is also against Citizens United. Accomplishing the slogan "End Citizens United" would have an insigificant impact on the problem of money in politics.
2. The SpeechNow.org case legalized SuperPACs, though Citizens United often gets blamed. It also gets blamed for Obama's refusal to require disclosure of dark money by executive order, which the Supreme Court assumed would happen but the plutocrat Obama steadfastly refused to do. ECU's main campaign is supporting Obama's plutocratic choice to fill the Supreme Court vacancy although Garland voted for SpeechNow.org. In other words, since a progressive fifth justice could start to overturn much more than Citizens United, this organization is promoting the wrong side of the the very best strategy currently available to get money out of politics. The best strategy is a progressive Supreme Court appointment, probably made as a recess appointment. Therefore defeating Garland and leaving this seat either open or for Sanders to fill is an infinitely preferable strategy to any other right now.
3. Anyone who thinks a constitutional amendment is either necessary of even sufficient to get money out of politics should read this article: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/01/23/five-years-of-citizens-united/ This article reveals how the Democratic Party uses the amendment meme as a scam to cover up its votes for legislation that has legalized more money in politics.
4. Anyone who thinks that corporate personhood has anything to do with money in politics, or is even a very significant issue on its own should read this article: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/6095:the-problem-with-citizens-united-is-not-corporate-personhood

At 9:11 AM, Anonymous jeff greenberg said...

I have researched this endcitizensunited.org scam after receiving hundreds and hundreds of unsolicited emails from them all of which are asking for money. I did a whois and then a reverse DNS lookup and tracked an IP address associated with the domain back to a small single person office I think on F street in DC and found a telephone number last year.. I Called the number and a guy answered but would not give me his name. I questioned him about why some of his emails appeared to support Hillary and Some appeared to support Bernie as the implied recipient of the donations as the message kept changing. I questioned him about his organization and he claimed that his group was a "committee" I questioned him about where the money they were raising was going and he told me to f&%k off and hung up. I filed a report with the FBI on this grifter.

This is a SCAM.. They are robbing the movement of needed funds and have probably raised millions and millions of dollars that should have been earmarked for supporting the movement to amend or Bernie. I am certain they are simply pocketing the dough. I just did another internic search on the domain and this is what came up:
(Results flagged as "NOT AUTHORITATIVE" should be checked with the
registrar's whois server.) These guys should be shut down and sued by the real movement for every dime they have stolen from the movement. Jeff Greenberg

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't this fraud? Can't we get a state attorney general to investigate and then put these scam artists in jail?


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