The political action committee for End Citizens United // Let America Vote, a national advocacy group looking to get big money out of politics and fighting to strengthen voting protections, will endorse Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) Wednesday in the May 14 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
“Angela Alsobrooks is dedicated to protecting the freedom to vote and fighting for democracy reform to ensure our government works for the people — not just the wealthy elite,” Tiffany Muller, the president of End Citizens United // Let America Vote said in a statement.
The organization sprouted up a few years after the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which struck down restrictions on independent political expenditures from corporate treasuries as violations of the First Amendment. That ruling effectively decimated many limits on campaign contributions around the country and also gave rise to the prevalence of “dark money” in many political contests.
More recently, End Citizens United has also begun to focus on ballot access and voting rights, especially since the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and the bogus claims that the 2020 White House election was stolen. While technically a nonpartisan organization, the group has largely endorsed Democrats over the years.
Alsobrooks, Muller said, “is committed to combating the extremist attacks on our democracy while prioritizing the needs of Maryland families, like safeguarding reproductive rights and lowering the cost of prescription drugs.”
While Alsobrooks has trotted out a dizzying array of endorsements from Maryland politicians since joining the race to replace retiring U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D), her principal opponent for the Democratic nomination, U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-6th), has implied that she could be beholden to special interests if she is elected. Trone, a self-funder, has cast himself as the insurgent in the primary battling the choice of entrenched political interests. He has touted his own independence in interviews and campaign ads, asserting he may be the only member of the Senate not to have been elected with special interest money if he winds up winning.
“David only answers to the people of Maryland — and he’s never taken a nickel from PACs, lobbyists, or corporations,” the campaign says on its campaign website.
Between the End Citizens United // Let America Vote endorsement, and the endorsement earlier this week from one of the leading good government advocates in Congress, U.S. Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3rd), Alsobrooks may be building a degree of protection from her opponent’s suggestion that she might be politically compromised — and that only a self-funder can promote political reform.
Trone himself has been an aggressive campaign donor over the years, both in his role as head of the national liquor chain Total Wine & More, and since joining Congress, supporting scores of colleagues and political committees before and after he took office in 2019.
“I am so proud to be endorsed by End Citizens United // Let America Vote,” Alsobrooks said. “I am committed to ensuring America is as good as its promise, and that each of us has access to opportunities and the right to vote. Elections are not for sale, and I look forward to working to ensure that our government is truly representative of the American People.”
Since its founding in 2015, the group has had over 1 million donors and raised $200 million. What’s unclear at this stage of the election cycle is what kind of resources it will devote to Alsobrooks’ campaign.
Disclosure: The David and June Trone Family Foundation was a financial supporter of Maryland Matters in 2017 and 2018.