Did Citizens United Begat “2016” The Movie?

August 26th, 2012

I haven’t seen the movie 2016, nor do I have any intentions on seeing it. While I have no comments on the substance of the movie, I raise a constitutional point.

This movie seems to be primarily an attack on President Obama, released right before a presidential election, with the intent to gin up support for Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney. It seems very much like “Hillary the Movie,” produced by Citizens United, which was released during the 2008 election in order to raise support for the GOP candidate, John McCain. One key difference is that the Hillary Movie was to be distributed through Video on Demand, while this movie is also in the theaters. Presumably, this movie will also run right up until the general election.

Before Citizens United, could the FEC have shut down this film, which was released by OAF LLC (a corporation), as a violation of campaign finance laws? I think the answer is yes.

After Citizens United, the coasts are clear, and this movie can continue.

I suppose in that sense, 2016 the Movie can only exist because of the Court’s holding in Citizens United–a case that President Obama did not care for. Well played Supreme Court, well played.