Topic: Citizens United
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March 26, 2013 at 3:38 PM
OLYMPIA — Democrats used a state Senate committee hearing Tuesday to vent about how increasing political spending by corporations poses “a threat to our democracy.”
State Sen. Adam Kline and state Rep. Jamie Pedersen, both from Seattle, urged the Senate Government Operations Committee to adopt a measure to show support for an amendment to the United States Constitution to “return the authority to regulate election campaign contributions to congress and state legislatures.”
That authority disappeared, Kline and Pedersen said, with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission to remove limits on independent political spending by corporations and unions.
“I don’t want to get the violins and throwing flags and all that, but part of the reason this country was created was to institute self-governing, and this goes I think to the core of that,” Kline said. “It allows those with frankly more money to have a louder voice.”
The public testimony at the packed hearing occasionally got testy.
At one point, Chris Esh of the Washington Public Interest Research Group referred to “dark money groups” and promptly got cut off by committee chairwoman Pam Roach, R-Auburn.
Nobody spoke against the bill — one resident accidentally signed up to oppose the bill but spoke in favor of it — but the measure is no sure bet.
The symbolic bill narrowly passed the state House on a near-party line vote earlier this month. But a similar bill introduced in the state Senate never got a vote in committee.
August 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM
TAMPA, Fla. – Washington state’s delegation at the Republican National Convention starts off each day at their waterfront hotel with a 9 a.m. breakfast featuring a guest speaker.
On Monday, they heard from David Bossie, the president of the conservative group Citizens United – which famously won a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2010 that said the government could not restrict independent political spending by corporations or unions.
That ruling has been lamented by Democrats and some campaign-finance watchdogs for opening the door to unlimited spending and the age of super PACs.
But as the standing ovation for Bossie here showed, Republicans love the Citizens United decision, saying it is only fair to allow wealthy people to spend their money as they see fit.
“You know it’s a good thing because the left hates it. If they say it’s evil, you know it’s good,” said state Republican Party Chairman Kirby Wilbur, who introduced Bossie as a longtime friend. (Wilbur has been on the board of Citizens United since 1988.)
Citizens United has been in the political movie-making business and has big plans for a new project — an anti-Obama movie called “The Hope and the Change” that will be screened for delegates in Tampa.
That movie tells the stories of 40 independents and Democrats who voted for Obama in 2008, but have come to regret their decision. It’s a project done with all the tactics of a political advertisement aimed straight at the swing-state voters who will decide the 2012 election. Bossie said the filmmakers did focus groups with voters in battleground states in order to craft a message for them.
“They were sold something and they bought something that they didn’t understand,” Bossie said, blaming the media for failing to properly “vet” Obama.
Bossie said Citizens United will announce this week “a major TV deal” that will keep the film on cable channels throughout September and October. As a 501C4 nonprofit, he said, the group plans to keep “educating voters” about their choices, right up through election day.
An ad campaign for the film will air on a variety of outlets, including CNN and even the left-leaning MSNBC, Bossie said. “In the middle of Rachel Maddow’s show, she’s going to go to commercial, and when she comes back, her head will explode,” he said.
Bossie said his inspiration for the effort was lefty filmmaker Michael Moore, whose 2004 movie “Fahrenheit 911″ he praised as an effective piece of political propaganda against then-President George Bush. The ad campaign for that movie, Bossie said, was more effective than anything else the Democrats did that year.
“They made the best ads of the cycle,” he said. It’s a feat Bossie wants to replicate.
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