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‘Hillary: The Movie’ case spurs free speech debate
Mr. McCain and Mr. Feingold, as well as former Reps. Christopher Shays, Connecticut Republican, and Martin Meehan, Massachusetts Democrat, filed an amicus brief with the court siding with the FEC.
A ruling in favor of Citizens United would create a loophole that would allow corporate and union funds to be used to advocate for or against candidates without disclosure, they said.
“Citizens United’s argument that candidate advocacy via on-demand video is so different from traditional advertising that it should be open to no-holds-barred corporate and union financing of electioneering messages overlooks that such advocacy poses the same threats to the electoral system as does corporate funding of more traditional forms of election advocacy,” the brief said.
“The arguments advanced by Citizens United threaten to undo much of what [the lawmakers] accomplished in achieving the enactment of BCRA, to roll back long-standing provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act that predate BCRA, and even to jeopardize statutes requiring disclosure of corporate and union political and lobbying expenditures outside the field of candidate elections,” the brief said.
Liberal filmmaker Michael Moore has not publicly commented on the case.
His anti-Bush film “Fahrenheit 9/11” was released June 25, 2004, and therefore was not restricted by the time frames for political ads - 60 days before a general election and 90 days before a primary.
The makers of “Hillary: The Movie” solicited an FEC ruling before deciding how to market their film; that ruling went against them and put the case into motion. The FEC never had an occasion to rule on “Fahrenheit 9/11.”
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