The McCain-Feingold campaign finance law’s apparent threat to free speech has one conservative political action committee taking its case to the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to get it tossed out.
David Bossie, whose group Citizens United found itself hauled into federal court by the Federal Election Commission over the content of its film “Hillary: The Movie,” told Newsmax.TV’s Ashley Martella the legislation has been used in ways its chief sponsors never dreamed of.
“It affects all of our films, how we are able to advertise and how we are able to educate the American people about our film,” Bossie said. “It is a ridiculous thing in my opinion that is part of the law of unintended consequences, because I don’t believe for one minute that many U.S senators and congressmen, when they voted on McCain-Feingold, thought to themselves, ‘Ah, filmmaking will be affected by this law.’”
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Bossie’s group had intended to show “Hillary: The Movie” in theaters, on DVD and via pay-per-view television. It also created TV advertisements to accompany the film. But the FEC ruled the film was “electioneering communications” because it was partly financed with corporate funds.
A federal appeals court ruled against Citizens United because it said the film aimed to dissuade people from voting for Hillary Clinton for president. Citizens United pleaded its case before the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year. The high court has yet to render its decision.
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Citizens United isn't a stranger to fighting the McCain-Feingold law. It acted as a co-plaintiff in a case brought by GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., seven years ago that sought to toss the law.
“I am opposed on many levels,” Bossie told Newsmax. “I think it is unconstitutional, and it should be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
“We’re very interested in this, not just for our film, but for every American because it affects everyone and everything.”
During oral arguments in front of the Supreme Court, the federal government took the position that the film’s content would have violated McCain-Feingold even if it had appeared in book form.
“That was a big problem for the government in their case; hence people understand that is a bigger case than just about our movie,” Bossie said.
McCain-Feingold's prime sponsors intended the law to get “big money” out of politics, but Bossie says it has had the opposite effect.
The law’s 527 provisions allowed Barack Obama's presidential campaign, together with the Democratic National Committee, MoveOn.org and other left-leaning groups to raise in excess of $1.2 billion to get Obama elected. On the other side, the John McCain campaign, the Republican National Committee and affiliated conservative groups spent $640 million in what became the most expensive presidential campaign in history.
“The irony is that John McCain, because of McCain-Feingold, was outspent almost two to one,” Bossie said.
Citizens United, in addition to its fight against McCain-Feingold, also has produced a movie titled “Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration” and has taken a strong stance on illegal immigration.
Bossie told Newsmax.TV the Obama administration has cut back on border enforcement, and the Democratic Party has allowed radicals in the Hispanic community who advocate on behalf of illegals, such as the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, to drive the debate on its side of the aisle.
“To me, the Border Patrol isn’t just about stopping illegal immigrants from coming from Mexico, who may or may not be a problem when they get here,” he said.
He worries allowing an open-borders policy could allow terrorists to sneak weapons of mass destruction across the border or carry out other types of attacks against Americans.
Illegal immigration affects most Americans in one way or another, Bossie said, due to the jobs they take from Americans, gang crime, demands on the educational system and other burdens they place on the government.
“Whether its healthcare or education, the dollar signs still add up,” Bossie said. “I think its gonna be a problem, but I’m hopeful that Barack Obama’s so weighed down by other other issues and other topics that he can’t yet do comprehensive immigration reform because that’s always code for amnesty.”
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