Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

January 25, 2012 -

Joel Kelsey, a top political adviser for Free Press, has written an editorial urging U.S. lawmakers who have taken money from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to give it back. Writing over at SaveTheInternet.com, Kelsey makes this request in light of recent comments from MPAA president Chris Dodd made to Fox News. In case you don't remember:

"Those who count on 'Hollywood' for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who's going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don't ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don't pay any attention to me when my job is at stake."

Kelsey acknowledges that politicians take money from everyone so that they can go back to their respective districts and fight for a chance to return to Washington for another term. But what Dodd said to Fox News implies a high level impropriety on the part of the MPAA and lawmakers who accept their money. Americans are not naive about the influence that campaign contributions have on policy-making, but Dodd's hubris on the topic is beyond the pale. As a former member of the Senate (D-CT.), Dodd understands how the process works, but saying it out loud in public instead of in a back room somewhere brings this very ugly topic into the public light. Here's the thrust of what Kelsey says in his opinion piece:

"We can’t guarantee that top lobbyists like Dodd, who have gone through the revolving door in D.C., will become more ethical. But we can demand that our elected officials make it clear to K Street who they are supposed to be representing in Washington — those everyday people who stood up to Hollywood and stopped Congress from passing bills that would have had dire consequences for the Internet, our nation’s biggest economic engine.

Free Press is urging lawmakers to put their money where their mouths are. We’re asking the top recipients of the MPAA’s campaign cash to give the money back. We’re hoping this will send a message to Dodd and all other corporate lobbyists that our nation’s laws are not for sale
.

You can read the article here.

Image Credit: Shutterstock.com.


Comments

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

The real sad part is that we citizens can not compete against the corporate checkbook. Our meager desires and donations would never sway a politician to sponsor a bill for the common mans benefit. That is where America is broken right now.

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

Screw giving it back. Give it to the EFF.

 

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

and the chances of that happening look about as bright as the futures of SOPA/PIPA.

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

Again, the problem seems to be not that it happens, but that Dodd talked about it.  So honestly talking about how the process works is bad?

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

The problem with talking about it is that there is no longer a shroud of legitimacy around it. A legitimate contribution is indistinguishable from an illegitimate one until somebody opens their mouth and tells the world.

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

I like your response far better than mine. I think it is because I over-think these things.

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

Its not that he is talking about making campaign contributions. That is fine and dandy as anyone can make contributions to campaigns. It is also fine that people make contributions to candidates who they feel will be best suited to fulfilling their political agenda.

The problem people have with Dodd's statements is the underlying connotation that the MPAA is making the donations specifically so they can get protectionist legislation passed. The idea that money was given with the assurance that laws like SOPA would be passed. That Dodd is saying that these contributions were not just contributions but an agreement that certain laws would be made and passed.

Re: Free Press: Lawmakers Should Give MPAA Contributions Back

But they are making contributions specifically to get protectionist legislation passed.  Just like everybody else.  Just like everybody has been doing.  The only thing Dodd did wrong in this case (other than not stopping it, but let's be realistic for a second) was to say it happens.

 
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