- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Hillary Clinton’s calls during the presidential campaign to amend the Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United is evidence that the Democratic Party is a greater threat to free speech rights than Republican Donald Trump, said the chief of media conglomerate Time Warner.

Despite Mr. Trump hinting he would look to “open up” libel laws as president, the threat to the First Amendment “came more from the Democratic side,” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said, adding that such an amendment would “restrain multiple voices” in the nation’s political debate, Variety magazine reported.

But rather than see the proposed constitutional change as a threat to free speech, the left-leaning news media “viewed it charitably as something cleaning up money in politics,” Mr. Bewkes said, Variety reported.

A 5-4 decision by the high court in 2010, Citizens United v. FEC struck down as unconstitutional a provision in federal law banning corporations and unions from “independent expenditures” to weigh in on political campaigns.

“If the First Amendment has any force, it prohibits Congress from fining or jailing citizens, or associations of citizens, for simply engaging in political speech,” wrote Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy for the court.

The controversy found its way before the court because of litigation regarding an anti-Clinton documentary, “Hillary: The Movie,” produced by the conservative nonprofit Citizens United.

“Citizens United wanted to pay cable companies to make the film available for free through video-on-demand, which allows digital cable subscribers to select programming from various menus, including movies,” according to the Federal Election Commission’s official website.

“Citizens United planned to make the film available within 30 days of the 2008 primary elections, but feared that the film would be covered by the Act’s ban on corporate-funded electioneering communications that are the functional equivalent of express advocacy, thus subjecting the corporation to civil and criminal penalties.”


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