Today marks five years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the wrong way on the Citizens United case, allowing unlimited spending by corporations in elections. Protesters in Washington spent the morning disrupting the Supreme Court to register their frustration with the ruling, yelling “overturn Citizens United!” from the back of the courtroom.
In case you haven't seen the documentary film "Koch Brothers Exposed," Brave New Films is offering the film free online for anyone to view.
I asked Mike Damanskis, a comedian, filmmaker and social media manager at Brave New Films, about the decision and what they hope to achieve by doing it. Read on for our Q&A.
Q: Why is Brave New Films making this documentary available to the general public?
A: We are releasing this documentary free to the public so more people understand how the political activities of the Koch brothers have reshaped the political landscape. Since Citizens United was ruled on 5 years ago, anonymous donors (including the Kochs) have been able to pour limitless funds into our political system, and that has far-reaching consequences for our society.
Money does not equal free speech, and Citizens United needs to be overturned in the interest of preserving Democracy.
Q: What do people really need to know about the Koch Brothers? Is it enough to be just vaguely aware that they're 'bad guys' or is there more to it?
A: They now own the Republican party.
Even this weekend, they are hosting secret meetings with Republican presidential hopefuls – it’s like "The Bachelor," but with Republican candidates. They fund everything from voter suppression efforts to re-segregating our schools, to eliminating social security. They've poured at least $67 million into groups that deny climate change – as they profit from dirty fossil fuels and the lack of regulations around them. The film shows just how deep their influence goes.
Q: Do you have a happy birthday wish for Citizens United?
A: That everybody watch the film and share it with their friends… and most importantly, REGISTER TO VOTE. Make their friends and family register to vote. Start mobilizing early.
We'll never be able to match the big money poured into our elections, so we'll need to stand together and fight for what we want. Somehow it became fashionable in the last election to say that voting doesn't make a difference. We had lower turnout in this election than any election since World War 2. But not voting is – is by default – a vote for the Koch brothers and the politicians that serve them.
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot -OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED!