Citizens United

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Learn about corporate "speech" and other "rights" v. people's rights. And help put Americans before corporations.

Citizens United was created in November 1988 by conservative activist Floyd G. Brown,[1] It is "a nonprofit corporation organized under the laws of Virginia and tax-exempt under section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code."[2] Citizens United is affiliated with The Presidential Coalition, a 501(c)(4), and the 2007 Conservative Victory Committee, a Section 527 political action committee. Previously, it was affiliated with the National Security Political Action Committee (National Security PAC), Presidential Victory Committee and Americans for Bush. Citizens United is led by David Bossie, who has served as president since 2000. Its offices are on Pennsylvania Avenue in the Capitol hill area of Washington, D.C.

History

Citizens United was founded by Floyd Brown[3] in 1988.

Controversies

Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

In January, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a divided 5-4 vote, held that section 441b of the 2002 McCain-Feingold federal campaign finance law (Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act) was unconstitutional. The law prohibited corporations and unions from using their general treasury funds to make independent expenditures for "electioneering communication," or for speech expressly advocating the election or defeat of a candidate.

The ruling effectively protected corporate speech the same as individual speech. The majority’s ruling about corporate electioneering marked a dramatic break from the past. In doing so, the Court rejected a century of previous court decisions that ruled corporate donations can, and should be regulated. In its ruling, the court never explained why corporate identity demands the same treatment as individual identity.[4]

Movies

Opposition to Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton

By far to date, Citizens United's biggest controversy surrounds its efforts to influence the 2008 presidential elections through "Hillary: The Movie."[5] A federal court ruled that "Citizens United could not run ads for its negative film on Hillary Rodham Clinton without disclosing the ad’s donors. The group wants to release and promote 'Hillary: The Movie' to coincide with the dates when many states will hold primary elections, but the court found that in order for the ads to adhere to current campaign finance law, Citizens United would have to disclose who paid for the ads."[6] The group has appealed this case all the way to the Supreme Court. For more information about the legal arguments in that case and its implications for individual rights in a democracy as compared with corporate rights, see Portal:Corporate_Rights

Opposition to Presidential Candidate John Kerry and to Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11"

In September 2004, "Fred Thompson, Charles Krauthammer, Fred Barnes, Michael Medved, Michael Barone and Bill Sammon among other Washington veterans" were featured in Citizens United's film , "Celsius 41.11."[7] This movie purported to "[counter] the lies and deceptions of Fahrenheit 9/11 and [provide] a full deconstruction of Senator John Kerry, the Democrat presidential nominee."[8]

In June 2004, Citizens United also joined the right-wing campaign to block distribution of Fahrenheit 9/11, by filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming that the movie violated federal election law.[9]

Opposition to the ACLU

Citizen United produced ACLU: At War With America. The film featured "Michael Boos, Mark Corallo, Former Congressman John Hostettler, Michael Medved, Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III, Deroy Murdock, U.S. Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave, Michael Reagan, Alan Sears, Mathew Staver and Victoria Toensing."[10][11]

Opposition to the United Nations

Citizen United produced: Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60.[12]

Role in Anti-Immigration Campaigns

Citizens United produced Border War: The Battle Over Illegal Immigration[13]

Other Movies

Rediscovering God in America, Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny, and We Have the Power were hosted by Newt Gingrich.

Television Ads

The group has run ads against Democratic candidates and in favor of Republican policies. For example:

  • In March 2003, Citizens United "launched a national ad campaign supporting Bush's hard-charging approach to Baghdad," with Fred Thompson as the "face" for the anti-war "counter movement."[14]

However, the group did produce a television advertisement that revealed supposedly "liberal" legislative actions taken by then Presidential candidate Senator John McCain.[21] The Group aired the ad on Fox News Channel.[2] But the relative amount of funding spent on this as compared with other efforts could be viewed as window dressing and certainly does not make their criticism "bipartisan."

Donatelli Group and the Swift Boat connection

The Citizens United online store is operated through DonationReport.com, plus an extension code for Citizens United.[22]

The connection for the DonationReport.com website[23] arrives at a Login[24]—requiring both a User ID and Password—which belongs to eDonation.com, a member of The Donatelli Group, a fundraising company that has raised campaign funds for the Republican National Committee, Republican National Convention, Bush-Cheney '04 Inc., John McCain, the NRA[25] and an exhaustive list of Republican members of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as other political organizations.[26]

The Donatelli Group, using its "primary segment" Campaign Solutions[27], is associated with Creative Response Concepts, the public relations firm that advised Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the "organization that accused Kerry of inflating his Vietnam War record" during the 2004 presidential campaign.

The Donatelli Group, which produced the RNC website[28], also created the SWIFTBOATVETSFORTRUTH.ORG website July 30, 2004, with Connell Donatelli Inc.[29] (a.k.a. The Donatelli Group) as Registrant. Connell Donatelli Inc. was also listed as both Administrator and the Tech Organization for the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth website.[30]

Projects and affiliated programs

American Sovereignty Action Project (ASAP)

  • This is also known as the American Sovereignty Project (ASP).

Boycott France

  • See the Citizens United website.[31]

Center for Government Integrity (CGI)

Citizens United for the Bush Agenda (CUBA)

Citizens United Foundation

Citizens United Political Victory Fund (CU-PVF)

Counter George Soros

  • See the Citizens United website.[32]

National Citizens Legal Network (NCLN)

National Committee for Faith and Family (NCFF)

"Taxpayers Defense Committee"

In 1993, the Taxpayers Defense Committee was a "joint project of the Citizens United and the Conservative Victory Committee."[33]

Legal Briefs

See "Courtroom Advocacy: A Listing of Filed Legal Briefs":[34] See also SourceWatch's Corporate Rights portal for more information on the legal briefs filed in the Supreme Court case over "Hillary: The Movie."

Citizens United also filed briefs in the following controversies, among others:

  • Amicus Curiae Brief supporting Vice-President Dick Cheney in the GAO's lawsuit (Walker v. Cheney)
  • Amicus Brief opposing the Illinois Attorney General's attempt to dictate or othewise restrict the content of non-profit organization communications (Ryan v. Telemarketing Associates)

"Policy Papers"

See "Policy Papers".[35]

Mailing List Issue

Response Unlimited lists Citizens United for the Bush Agenda, Citizens United Foundation, and The Presidential Coalition on a mailing list used for "Reagan Republicans for the New Millennium" Donors".[36][37]

An Eagle List Company list for USA Next Donors (United Seniors Association Donors) updated January 21, 2007, listed the Citizens United for the Bush Agenda among users for the "past six months".[38]

Campaign donors for 2000 presidential hopeful Steve Forbes listed by the Eagle List Company included Citizens United and the American Sovereignty Project.[39]

Official Mission Statement

Citizens United logo

Citizens United describes itself as "an organization dedicated to restoring our government to citizens control. Through a combination of education, advocacy, and grass roots organization, Citizens United seeks to reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security. Citizens United's goal is to restore the founding father's vision of a free nation, guided by the honesty, common sense, and good will of its citizens," its website states.[40]

Officers and Board of Directors

Also see Officers and Board of Directors:[41]

  • Bob Barr, Congressman and Honorary Chairman

Registration and financial information

A disclaimer at the bottom of the Citizens United online store page[45] states:

"Information concerning Citizens United's registration and financial information can be obtained from the following: Florida Division of Consumer Services by calling within the state 1-800-help-fla, reg. No. SC-04837, 100% of contributions are received by the organization; documents and information submitted under Maryland's charitable solicitation act are available, for the cost of postage and copies, for the Maryland Secretary of State, State House, Annapolis, MD 21401, (410) 974-5534; Mississippi Secretary of State's Office by calling 1-888-236-6167; Attorney General of the State of New Jersey by calling 973-504-6215; New York State Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271; North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State, solicitation licensing section, 919-807-2214; Pennsylvania Department of State, or by calling, from within Pennsylvania, 800-732-0999; Virginia Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs; Secretary of State (State Washington) by calling 1-800-332-4483; West Virginia Secretary of State, State Capitol, Charleston, VA 24305; or by contacting Citizens United, 109 Carpenter Drive, suite 210, Sterling, VA 20164. Registration with a government agency does not imply endorsement by that agency."

Contact information

1006 Pennsylvania Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone: 202 547-5420
Toll-Free: 800 362-4788
FAX: 202 547-5421
Website: http://www.citizensunited.org/
Weblog: http://www.citizensunited.org/blog/

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles

References

  1. Black Max, "This Far and No Further. A Timeline of Events Surrounding the Radical Right's Attempt to Subvert American Democracy," IraqTimeline.com for 1988.
  2. Declaration of Michael Boos, on Behalf of Plaintiffs Citizens United and Citizens United Political Victory Fund, Congressman Ron Paul, et al., Plaintiffs, vs. Federal Election Commission, et al., Defendants, Civil Action No. 02-CV-781, U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, October 3, 2002.
  3. Floyd Brown - Biography
  4. The Daily Star The court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Excerpts of the decision. January 28, 2010
  5. HillaryMovie.com website.
  6. "Some Movie Ads Require Disclosure," CQ's MoneyLine, January 15, 2008.
  7. Celsius4111.com
  8. "Citizens United to Premiere 'Celsius 41.11 - the Temperature at Which the Brain Begins to Die'; Documentary Challenges Lies in 'Fahrenheit 9/11', Deconstructs John Kerry," Business Wire (FindArticles.com), September 16, 2004.
  9. Susan Jones, "Michael Moore Film Violates Campaign Finance Law, Group Alleges," (formerly Conservative News Service; now Cybercast News Service), June 23, 2004.
  10. ACLUMovie.com.
  11. ACLUMovie.com website.
  12. BrokenPromisesMovie.com.
  13. BorderWarMovie.com.
  14. Liza Porteus, "'Pro-War' Movement Springs Into Action," Fox News, March 2, 2003. Note: Thompson is promoting the Bush administration's position in his ad. See The alleged linkage of Saddam Hussein with Osama bin Laden, al Qaeda and weapons of mass destruction.
  15. Selected Affiliations: Alex Castellanos, The Stealth PACs/Public Citizen, accessed July 3, 2007.
  16. Principals and Consultants, Past and Present of Citizens United (CU), The Stealth PACs/Public Citizen, accessed July 3, 2007.
  17. Our Clients, The Strategy Group for Media, accessed July 3, 2007.
  18. gregflynn, "AZ-08,CO-07,IA-01,IN-02,IN-08,IN-09,KY-04,NC-11,NM-01," MyDD, October 12, 2006.
  19. About, Citizens United, accessed July 3, 2007.
  20. Principals and Consultants, Past and Present of Citizens United (CU), The Stealth PACs/Public Citizen, accessed July 3, 2007.
  21. [1]
  22. DonationReport.com processing center, accessed July 3, 2007.
  23. DonationReport.com website.
  24. Login page, DonationReport.com.
  25. Erin McPike, "Two Republican Web Giants Form Connell Donatelli Inc.," CampaignLine.com, August 20, 2004.
  26. Clients, CampaignSolutions.com.
  27. edonation.com website
  28. "Information on the RNC Organizers," OnePeoplesProject.com, last updated August 29, 2004; accessed July 3, 2007.
  29. ConnellDonatelli.com website.
  30. "Re: Bush, O'Neill, Swifties and Purple Heart Band-aids," Mailgate, September 11, 2004; accessed July 3, 2007.
  31. Boycott France, Citizens United website.
  32. Counter Soros, Citizens United website.
  33. Michael Clark, "Selling issues - political consultants," Campaigns & Elections (FindArticles.com), April-May 1993. See page 4.
  34. Courtroom, Citizens United website.
  35. Policy Papers, Citizens United website.
  36. Usage for REAGAN REPUBLICANS OF THE NEW MILLENIUM DONORS, Response Unlimited, accessed July 3, 2007.
  37. According Vickie Koth of Christian Freedom International, "three lists we tested that all bombed. Our current donors are quite faithful, but in terms of new prospects, the lists we tried (Nora Lam, Alan Keyes, and Reagan Republicans of the New Millennium) did not pan out," Mike Buwalda of the Christian Stewardship Association wrote May 2007 in "Top 10 'Appeal Letter' Lessons from Christian Nonprofits."
  38. USA Next Donors, Eagle List Company, accessed July 3, 2007.
  39. Forbes 2000 Campaign Donors, Eagle List Company, revised January 21, 2007.
  40. Citizens United website.
  41. Officers and Board of Directors, Citizens United website.
  42. Ron Robinson, ReaganRanch.com.
  43. Profile: Ron Robinson, CNP.
  44. Profile: Ron Robinson, Young America's Foundation.
  45. DonationReport.com processing center, accessed July 3, 2007.

External resources

  • Citizens United, NNDB.com.
  • See "Clinton, Conspiracism, and the Continuing Culture War," American Spectator (The Public Eye), 1998: "Citizens United is an example of how the players and themes in conspiracist anticommunism shifted seamlessly to conspiracist antiliberalism and joined the campaign against a demonized Clinton, pulling their conspiracy theories into the mainstream media and Congress." Includes background information on Bossie, Boos, Brown, and other key players in Citizens United.

External articles

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

  • Liza Porteus, "'Pro-War' Movement Springs Into Action," Fox News, March 2, 2003.
  • Nat Ives, "MTV Refuses Antiwar Commercial," New York Times, March 13, 2003: "Supporters of an invasion of Iraq have seen doors slammed on them as well. ... The Citizens United Foundation, a group that ran commercials in 1991 supporting the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, made its own commercial supporting President Bush and a possible war in Iraq. Starring Fred Thompson, a former Republican Senator and an actor now appearing on 'Law & Order,' the spot was produced to counter the celebrity factor of the Martin Sheen [anti-war] spot and others from the antiwar camp."

2002