It's tough to tell the "citizen's" without a scorecard, but Public Citizen has launched a new Web site, Citizen's United Against Citizens United, to fight, or at least mitigate the effects, of the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case. That decision permits direct funding by corporations and unions of ads supporting or opposing specific candidates in the run-up to federal elections.
That September 2009 decision is supported by broadcasters both on the grounds of protecting political speech and on the prospect of more political ad dollars for the mid-terms.
The name of the site, CitizensUnitedAgainstCitizensUnited.org, had been used by the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign as a Facebook page, says Public Citizen, but was dropped by the group when Citizens United asked it to drop the name, saying it was trademark infringement.
Public Citizen said the name was too good to lose, and that it had consulted its trademark attorney, who said merely using the words "citizens united" was not infringement.
Its site calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn the ruling, something proposed by various legislators and activist groups. There is has also been legislation introduced that attempts to limit the scope of the decision.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.