Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Conservative group seeks press exemption to air ads

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A conservative group that complained about television ads for Michael Moore's anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" now wants an exemption from campaign-finance laws so it can advertise a book about John Kerry.

Citizens United contends the Federal Election Commission should consider it part of the news media, and allow it to run election-time ads for a book called The Many Faces of John Kerry: Why This Massachusetts Liberal is Wrong for America.

In a request released last week, Citizens United argued it should be able to run ads for the book, written by David Bossie, the group's president, and a documentary film on the Democratic presidential nominee and his running mate, John Edwards.

A new campaign-finance law bans the use of corporate money for ads identifying presidential and congressional candidates within two months of the election. But an exemption to the law frees a wide range of media organizations from the ban.

In June, Citizens United asked the FEC to investigate whether ads for "Fahrenheit 9/11" violated the law's restrictions on ads close to presidential nominating conventions and the Nov. 2 election. The FEC voted late last month to throw out the complaint, while declining to decide whether the press exemption applied to the ads.

Citizens United argues it should qualify for the press exemption because it publishes and releases newsletters, position papers, documentaries and books. The group contends "Fahrenheit 9/11" is anti-Bush propaganda and doesn't qualify for the media exemption, however.


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