During the 2008 election, a conservative non-profit organization named "Citizens United" produced Hillary: The Movie, a documentary critical of then-Sen. Hillary Clinton. Because of the political nature of the movie and the fact that Citizens United intended to purchase airtime on a video on-demand service on cable television, the movie was deemed an "electioneering communication" by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and was therefore subject to the rules governing the production of political ads, including limitations on who may fund them. Citizens United sued in federal court to overturn the decision, lost and appealed to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court held two hearings on the case and its ruling ultimately went far beyond what the plaintiffs had sought. The 5-4 decision permits corporations, unions and other special interests to spend as much as they like to advocate the election or defeat of political candidates. Laws that bar those interests from contributing directly to candidates remain in place but the ruling lifted controls on political giving that had been in place for decades.
Five years later...
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus threatened to pull the group’s partnership with NBC and CNN for 2016 GOP presidential primary debates if the networks moved ahead with plans to air films on Hillary Clinton. [...]
In individual letters to CNN President Jeff Zucker and NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt, Priebus called the documentaries “a thinly veiled attempt at putting a thumb on the scales of the 2016 presidential election.” [...]
“This suggests a deliberate attempt at influencing American political opinion in favor of a preferred candidate,” Priebus wrote. “I find this disturbing and disappointing."
I find this hypocritical and ironic.
Of course, if I were chairing the RNC, I'd be running scared, too.
The Hill posted a sequel: GOP state chairmen endorse Priebus call for networks to drop Clinton projects.
The circumstances are different, but I still found it oddly entertaining. Oh, and by the way Reince, via LiveWire:
"NBC News is completely independent of NBC Entertainment and has no involvement in this project," Communications Director Erika Masonhall tweeted.