FEC wins court battle


A film called "Hillary: The Movie" is ready to enter the fray of the 2008 campaign, and its backers/creators want to make it available on demand on the internet. To drive traffic, they wish to purchase air time. The Federal Election Commission has argued in court that the film is effectively an piece of electioneering since it involves an active candidate for federal office, and that any advertising promoting it must conform to the rules for standard political advertising. That means it cannot be aired, without funding properly acquired and reported, within 30 days of a primary or within 60 days of a general election. The backers of the film, Citizens United, wanted to the film to be available whenever via VOD, and did not want to disclose financial backers, but the District Court for the DC Circuit sided with the FEC on this one.

RBR/TVBR observation: This is reminiscent of the decision by Sinclair to run a documentary in 2004 that many believed was a thinly veiled political attack on John Kerry in favor of George Bush. Sinclair ended up reworking the program. With this case, it would appear that the FEC is on its guard for any attempts to slip something through the cracks by allegedly mislabeling a political communication as something else.