Before new media allowed outside-the-box thinkers like Andrew Breitbart to go around the mainstream media to directly influence the culture, there was Citizens United, the pioneering conservative organization that was founded 25 years ago in 1988 to help conservatives win the debate in an arena the liberal mainstream media controlled.
As the organization that fought on Clarence Thomas’s behalf when he was being nominated to the Supreme Court and changed American history and politics by winning a monumental Supreme Court case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, celebrates its 25th anniversary, Citizens United President David Bossie told Breitbart News during CPAC that the group is just getting started.
Bossie said with President Barack Obama in the White House, “a conservative’s work is never done.”
In 1992, Bossie came aboard as political and communications director, and the organization started to investigate what would become known as Bill Clinton’s “Whitewater” scandal. But it was a movie about Clinton’s wife, Hillary, that changed history. When Citizens United wanted to air a fact-based documentary about Hillary Clinton and commercials promoting the film leading up to the 2008 Democratic primaries, they were prevented from doing so because a court ruled the film violated campaign finance laws.
The Supreme Court disagreed, ruling in 2010 that the First Amendment prevented restrictions on political speech. The ruling allowed Citizens United to flourish even more. Obama even criticized the decision in his State of the Union address, because he realized the decision would further erode the grip liberals and the mainstream media have in controlling the political discourse. The decision continues to have lasting ramifications–influencing other areas of the law.
For instance, when a judge ruled on Thursday that the founder of Domino’s Pizza would be exempt from the Obamacare contraception mandate, Judge Lawrence Zatkoff, of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, evoked the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling in the Citizens United case that “equated corporations’ free-speech rights with that of individuals” in his decision.
“The Court sees no reason why a corporation cannot support a particular religious viewpoint by using corporate funds to support that viewpoint,” Zatkoff wrote in the opinion. “As such, the Court finds that [Domino’s Farms] is merely the instrument through and by which Monaghan expresses his religious beliefs.”
Citizens United had produced highly-acclaimed films like “Nine Days That Changed The World” and “Border War. The organization’s documentary about Ronald Reagan, “Rendezvous With Destiny,” is considered one of the best movies made about Reagan’s life. But the Supreme Court’s ruling unshackled them to more effectively–and creatively–influence politics and culture.
The Citizens United president said they started to make movies to go around the mainstream media’s filter, because there was a “a need for the story of not just conservatives to be told, but for there to be unfiltered access to the truth on the issues of the day for everyday Americans.”
“For so long, there has been a monopoly in the press and in the film industry by far-left liberals, and Citizens United continues to seek to create quality films and give people a chance to see movies that speak plainly and truthfully to the viewer,” Bossie said.
Citizens United has since produced movies like “Fire From The Heartland,” which was about the Tea Party movement, and “The Hope and the Change,” which directly challenged Obama by interviewing Reagan Democrats and independents in swing states who had voted for Obama in 2008 but would not do so in 2012, because they felt they were betrayed by his false promises. Fox News host Sean Hannity called it the best documentary he had ever seen. Both films were directed by Stephen K. Bannon.
“We are going to continue making movies to highlight the important issues that the mainstream media would prefer to sweep under the rug,” Bossie said.
But Bossie’s group will hold establishment Republicans to account as well.
Bossie also said the establishment consultant class “doesn’t take the time to think outside themselves” and are “out of touch with Americans outside the beltway.” He said that is why there is a need for “fresh ideas, fresh faces and new blood in the movement,” and new media makes it easier for Citizens United to not only reach more Americans but to be positively impacted by ordinary Americans as well.
“It is of the utmost importance that Establishment Republicans listen to conservatives and engage on social media and work with the great writers in the blogosphere and gain a fresh perspective on the issues from them,” Bossie said.
As for CPAC, Bossie said it has been an “honor” to be a part of the annual conservative conference and “see the faces of the future we are fighting for.”
“It’s been an amazing 25 years for Citizens United and I am looking forward to continuing our work and growing our organization,” Bossie said.
The full interview with Bossie can be seen below:
1. Breitbart News: Citizens United is arguably the most recognized brand in the conservative movement because of your landmark Supreme Court win. Where does your group go from here?
David Bossie, Citizens United President: With Barack Obama in the White House, a conservative’s work is never done. We are going to keep the Republicans in the House and the Senate true to the conservative principles they campaigned on, and will keep up the pressure on the Obama Administration with regard to the economy and issues like the Benghazi tragedy. We are going to continue making movies to highlight the important issues that the mainstream media would prefer to sweep under the rug. Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to keep everyone’s feet to the fire.
2. Breitbart News: Andrew Breitbart always said culture is upstream from politics. You started the first conservatove film studio. Why did you do it, how has it worked out and where do you plan to go in the film business?
David Bossie: There was a need for the story of not just conservatives to be told, but for there to be unfiltered access to the truth on the issues of the day for everyday Americans. For so long, there has been a monopoly in the press and in the film industry by far-left liberals and Citizens United continues to seek to create quality films and give people a chance to see movies that speak plainly and truthfully to the viewer.
3. Breitbart News: You have consistently argued against the “culture of consultants” that envelops the Republican Party. Why is that culture killing the conservative movement’s ability to win at the ballot box?
David Bossie: The consultant class inside the Beltway far too often doesn’t take the time to think outside themselves. What I mean by that is when consultants pitch their work to Establishment Republicans and candidates; they have been involved in politics in D.C. for so long they are simply out of touch with Americans outside the beltway. There is a need for fresh ideas, fresh faces and new blood in the movement. People with real world business experience who understand what folks outside of D.C. are thinking, feeling and struggling in the era of Obama’s Big Government expansion.
4. Breitbart News: How does new media make it easier to cut through the popular culture?
David Bossie: It’s a chance to speak directly to and hear directly from everyday Americans at the grassroots level. We can reply directly to Facebook comments, Tweets and connect with the folks on the ground fighting Big Government day in and day out. It is of the utmost importance that Establishment Republicans listen to conservatives and engage on social media and work with the great writers in the blogosphere and gain a fresh perspective on the issues from them.
5. Any other reflections at CPAC?
David Bossie: As for CPAC, it’s been an honor to be a part of this great event, to connect with conservatives and see the faces of the future we are fighting for. It’s been an amazing 25 years for Citizens United and I am looking forward to continuing our work and growing our organization.