Citizens United (organization)

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Citizens United
Citizens United official logo
Motto Dedicated to restoring our government to citizen control.
Formation 1988
Type Non-profit
Headquarters Washington, DC
President, Chairman
David Bossie

Citizens United is a conservative non-profit organization in the United States. Its president and chairman is David Bossie. It is best known for the U.S. Supreme Court case on campaign finance Citizens United v. FEC.


Citizens United's stated mission is to restore the United States government to "citizens' control," seeking to "reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security."[1] To fulfill this mission, Citizens United produces television commercials, web advertisements, and documentary films.[2]

Citizens United was founded in 1988. David Bossie has been its president since 2000. Its offices are on Pennsylvania Avenue in the Capitol Hill area of Washington, D.C.

Citizens United Foundation (CUF) is a 501(c)3 tax-exempt non-profit dedicated to informing U.S. citizens about public policy issues related to strong national defense, Constitutionally limited government, free market economics, belief in God and Judeo-Christian values, and the recognition of the family as the basic social unit of society.


Citizens United is known for its support of conservatives in politics. The group produced a television advertisement that reveals several legislative actions taken by John McCain, which aired on Fox News Channel.[3] On October 2, 2006, in reaction to revelations of a cover-up of inappropriate communications between Congressman Mark Foley and teenage pages, Citizens United president David Bossie called on Dennis Hastert to resign over his role in covering up the scandal.[4]

Citizens United Productions

Citizens United Productions, headed by president David Bossie, has released 21 feature-length documentaries. The following is a list of films produced by Citizens United Productions.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission

Citizens United was the plaintiff in a Supreme Court case that began as a challenge to various statutory provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA), known as the "McCain-Feingold" law. The case revolved around the documentary Hillary: The Movie, which was produced by Citizens United. Under the McCain-Feingold law, a federal court in Washington D.C. ruled that Citizens United would be barred from advertising its film.[5] The case (08-205, 558 U.S. 50 (2010)) was heard in the United States Supreme Court on March 24, 2009. During oral argument, the government argued that under existing precedents, it had the power under the Constitution to prohibit the publication of books and movies if they were made or sold by corporations.[6] After that hearing, the Court requested re-argument specifically to address whether deciding the case required the Court to reconsider those earlier decisions in Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce and McConnell v. FEC. The case was re-argued on September 9. On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court overturned the provision of McCain-Feingold barring corporations and unions from paying for political ads made independently of candidate campaigns.[7]

A dissenting opinion by Justice Stevens[8] was joined by Justice Ginsburg, Justice Breyer, and Justice Sotomayor. It concurred in the Court's decision to sustain BCRA's disclosure provisions, but dissented from the principal holding of the majority opinion. The 90-page dissent argued that the Court's ruling "threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation. The path it has taken to reach its outcome damage to this institution." The dissent also argued that the Court's holding that BCRA §203 was facially unconstitutional was ruling on a question not brought before it by the litigants, and so claimed that the majority "changed the case to give themselves an opportunity to change the law." Stevens concluded his dissent with:

At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt. It is a strange time to repudiate that common sense. While American democracy is imperfect, few outside the majority of this Court would have thought its flaws included a dearth of corporate money in politics.

In September 2010, Americans United for Life Action — a 501(c)4 affiliated with Americans United for Life — ran radio ads[9] advocating that incumbent Members of Congress John Boccieri, Chris Carney, and Baron Hill be defeated. News reports at the time indicated that the ads were "among the first ads to capitalize"[10] on the decision.

In 2010, Move to Amend and Free Speech For People were launched to build support to amend the Constitution to declare: 1) Corporations are Not People; and 2) Money is Not Free Speech. In 2012 Ben Cohen founded Stamp Stampede a massive sustained protest that encourages people to rubber stamp messages such as "Not To Be Used For Bribing Politicians" on dollars. So far over 50,000 have joined the protest.[11] To date, 16 states, almost 700 municipalities, and over 180 sitting members of Congress support a Constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.[12]


  1. Who We Are,
  2. Fulfilling Our Mission,
  3. Citizens United Against McCain, January 31, 2008. Archived November 10, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  4. Conservative Activists Call on Hastert To Res, ThinkProgress, October 2, 2006.
  5. Barnes, Robert (2009-03-14). "'Hillary: The Movie' to Get Supreme Court Screening". The Washington Post. p. A5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "The Myth of Campaign Finance Reform". National Affairs. 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Liptak, Adam (2010-01-21). "Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit". The New York Times. Associated Press. Retrieved 15 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Stevens opinion at ibid.
  9. "AUL Action begins radio campaign holding lawmakers accountable for supporting taxpayer funded abortion". Americas United for Life Action. 3 September 2010. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 15 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Kuhnhenn, Jim (2 September 2010). "Anti-abortion group targets Democrats in radio ads". Associated Press. Retrieved 15 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Donna the Buffalo's Stampede Tour to Stamp Big Money Out of Politics". 11 November 2015. Retrieved 5 December 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links