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Citizens United Must Be High: 'Non-Profit' Claims Its CO Ads Are Journalism, So No Need to Disclose Donors

Citizens United, the conservative "non-profit" which won a landmark Supreme Court decision allowing for unlimited dark money in politics, wants to spend big on political attack ads in Colorado without disclosing any donors.  

As an end-run around campaign finance laws, Citizens United is claiming to be a media organization, composed of independent journalists just like Michael Moore, according to CU President David Bossie, quoted in a 9News interview. CU is petitioning the Secretary of State to determine that its proposed political films should not be considered "electioneering" or "political expenditures." If allowed, Colorado media would be flooded with anonymous political attack ads in the 2014 elections.

Colorado Ethics Watch is pushing back in hearings through the Secretary of State's Office, no friend to Colorado Ethics Watch.  This should be interesting.

From the Colorado Ethics Watch Press Release

Today, Colorado Ethics Watch filed comments with the Colorado Secretary of State opposing Citizens United’s request for a declaration that it can spend unlimited money on ads opposing Governor John Hickenlooper’s re-election without disclosing the source or amount of the funds spent.

 Citizens United is best known for filing the Supreme Court case that allowed it to spend unlimited amounts of corporate money on elections, but still required it to disclose the source of the funds. Since that decision, Citizens United has jumped into state politics, including last year’s gubernatorial race in Virginia where it filed disclosures for radio ads promoting its “movie” attacking candidate Terry McAuliffe.

 On April 17, Citizens United filed a petition with Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler asking for a declaration that it is exempt from Colorado campaign finance disclosure laws because it is a broadcaster or news outlet. The Secretary of State scheduled a hearing on the petition for Tuesday, June 3 at 9:00 a.m.

Today, Ethics Watch filed comments with the Secretary of State opposing the petition.

“If Citizens United is treated as part of the media just because it regularly puts out ads attacking candidates, then every sleazy attack group in the state will be able to do the same thing,” said Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro. “Citizens United can spend all the money it wants attacking the Governor or any other candidate. All we ask is that it follow Colorado’s laws requiring disclosure of political money just like other groups from all political points of view are required to do."

The hearing on the petition will be held Tuesday, June 3 at 9:00 a.m. at the Colorado Secretary of State's office, Blue Spruce Room. 

Since Scott Gessler is running for Governor, his deputy, Suzanne Staiert, will make the decision on CU's petition, which is expected to be resolved this week. 

 

 

 

 

 

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