June 27, 2004

Ads for Farenheit 911 Could be Banned by FEC

Alexander Bolton reports a chilling item "Ads for Moores movie could be stopped on July 30" partially repeated below. I can't find a call-to-arms webpage, but will post one if I can find it. In the meantime, here's the FEC main webpage and their phone numbers. I'm sure that thousands of phone calls to the General Counsel's office will have an effect:

(800) 424-9530 | In Washington (202) 694-1100
For the hearing impaired, TTY (202) 219-3336

Michael Moore may be prevented from advertising his controversial new movie, Fahrenheit 9/11, on television or radio after July 30 if the Federal Election Commission (FEC) today accepts the legal advice of its general counsel.

At the same time, a Republican-allied 527 soft-money group is
preparing to file a complaint against Moores film with the FEC for
violating campaign-finance law.

In a draft advisory opinion placed on the FECs agenda for todays
meeting, the agencys general counsel states that political documentary
filmmakers may not air television or radio ads referring to federal
candidates within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a
general election.

The opinion is generated under the new McCain-Feingold
campaign-finance law, which prohibits corporate-funded ads that
identify a federal candidate before a primary or general election.


The FEC ruling may also affect promotion of a slew of other upcoming
political documentaries and films, such as Uncovered: The Whole Truth
About the Iraq War, which opens in August, The Corporation, about
democratic institutions being subsumed by the corporate agenda, or
Silver City, a recently finished film by John Sayles that criticizes
the Bush administration.

Another film, The Hunting of the President, which investigates whether
Bill Clinton was the victim of a vast conspiracy, could be subject to
regulations if it mentions Bush or members of Congress in its ads.

Since the FEC considers the Republican presidential convention
scheduled to begin Aug. 30 a national political primary in which Bush
is a candidate, Moore and other politically oriented filmmakers could
not air any ad mentioning Bush after July 30.

That could make advertising for the film after July difficult since it
is all about the Bush administration and what Moore regards as its
mishandling of the war on terrorism and the decision to invade Iraq.


Posted by Norman at June 27, 2004 08:09 AM | US Politics | Technorati links |

Could the 527s run ads about people who have seen the movie? How about ads about concerned people planning an evening out - gonna' go see F-9*11!
How about an ad that is dialog about whether this ad can be shown? Which ad? The debate about the other one? Sure, worth seeing. But what about the ad?
I like the enticing circular story, the ad could be a 30 second spin that takes several viewings to know its drift.
I think this is valid MoveOn expenditure; kill several birds with one stone.

Posted by: Richard W. Crews at June 27, 2004 09:03 AM

This is all a result of "Campaign Finance Reform" that was recently passed. Shame on anyone who supported the idea. I have always maintained that campaign finance reform was a dangerous idea that threatened free speech. People should be able to put any advertisements they want on TV. It is their right to do so. The only campaign finance reform that should exist is FULL DISCLOSURE. I don't care how much money an organization raises. I only want to know who gave it to them. Then, armed with that info, I can make a decision about voting for a particular candidate. One person one vote. Money doesn't change that. Campaign finace reform passed by poth parties is not an attempt to clean up politics it is an attempt to make raising money harder and spending it harder. This directly benefits incumbents who have the staff and resources already in place to do fundraising. I worked as a treasurer on a local campaign and you would not believe how complicated it was. Makes it very hard for the novice to get into politics.

Posted by: Dan Finkel at July 1, 2004 08:18 PM