What is Citizens United?


Quick Answer

Citizens United is a Washington-based lobbying group that seeks to restore the U.S. government to citizen control through "education, advocacy and grass roots organization," according to the group's official website. One major mass-media technique involves documentary film productions that feature conservative, Republican leaders in a positive light. The New York Times reports Citizens United was part of a controversial Supreme Court case in 2010.

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Full Answer

Citizens United's mission statement asserts a return to "traditional American values" such as limited government, national security, strong families and free market principles. The overall goal of the group aims to restore what they see as the original vision of a free nation espoused by the founding fathers.

To that end, Citizens United has three affiliates. The Citizens United Foundation seeks to inform Americans about issues regarding national defense, limited government and Judeo-Christian values. The Presidential Coalition contributes money to the political campaigns of like-minded conservatives. The Political Victory Fund supports true conservatives, including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Dick Morris and Fred Thompson.

The New York Times explains the Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission rejected corporate spending limits on political campaigns. The group sought to show a 90-minute documentary about 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton entitled "Hillary: The Movie." The FEC disallowed a wide release of the film because it determined the movie was a political commercial for "electioneering communications," not an actual movie, according to Cornell University. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Citizens United by a 5-4 vote in January 2010.

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