If the Citizens United “documentary” on Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe looks like a right-wing hack job, don’t be surprised. The group, known primarily for the Supreme Court decision that helped pave the way for the proliferation of outside spending in elections, has churned out viciously dishonest propaganda for years.
The very film that spawned the landmark campaign finance case was a transparent attempt to trash Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary by calling her a “congenital liar” and “the closest thing we have in America to a European socialist” – and it isn’t even the most inflammatory Citizens United production in recent years. “Celsius 41.11,” a response to Fahrenheit 9/11, juxtaposed images of Hitler, 9/11, and dead children with Michael Moore, John Kerry, and anti-war protesters. The group’s 2008 Obama hit job claimed that Obama “thinks infanticide is acceptable.” And “America At Risk,” Newt Gingrich’s Islamophobic film warning that a “war will go on until the entire world either embraces Islam or submits to Islamic rule,” was also a Citizens United Production.
That kind of incendiary rhetoric is the norm for Citizens United and its leaders, co-founder Floyd Brown and president David Bossie, whose resumes are full of panned ad campaigns and electoral strategies. Brown was behind the behind the infamous 1988 “Willie Horton” ad, which exploited racial fears by linking crimes committed by Horton, who is African-American, to a program authorized by Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis when he was governor of Massachusetts. Two decades later, Brown was still putting together controversial ads, including a 2008 spot drawing a connection between then-candidate Obama and Chicago gang murders. He also authored a “vicious” book on Bill Clinton, accusing the Democrat of “promoting witchcraft and fostering blasphemy,” in which Brown gave special thanks to segregationist and White Citizens Council leader Jim Johnson.
Bossie has been president of the organization since 2001, a position he assumed after nearly a decade as the group’s director of political affairs, during which time he relentlessly sought to undermine President Clinton. A former investigator for the House Oversight Committee, Bossie was dismissed in 1998 after releasing transcripts of phone calls that had been edited to implicate Hillary Clinton in a scandal at her former law firm. Together, Brown and Bossie co-authored Prince Albert, a 192-page hit job on Al Gore.
In addition to its films and ad campaigns, Citizens United consistently lends financial support to extreme right-wing candidates through its political action committee. Among the recipients of Citizen United contributions in recent years are Reps. Michele Bachmann, Allen West, Steve King, and Todd Akin. Furthermore, one of Citizens United’s affiliates has endorsed McAuliffe’s opponent, Ken Cuccinelli, and given him over $100,000 since 2008 – not including the cost to produce Citizens United’s anti-McAuliffe movie.
Read more after the jump.