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Citizens United - Floyd G. Brown

The web banner for Citizens United explains that the group is dedicated to "Reasserting Traditional American Values: limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, national sovereignty and security."85 The group claims 150,000 members, but that is most likely a count of anyone who has sent money for projects touted in frequent direct mail appeals. The group has a member newsletter, Citizens Agenda, and a specialty periodical, ClintonWatch, sent to selected reporters and political activists.86

Citizens United is the project of Floyd G. Brown who published "Slick Willie:" Why America Cannot Trust Bill Clinton, a slim paperback book distributed as part of a direct mail fundraising effort. The book is a right-wing tirade designed to document Clinton's lack of character. What it also showed was that Brown unabashedly mixes sexism and homophobia in his conservative analysis.87 Along with standard attacks on Clinton as a draft dodger and friend to labor unions, Brown asserts: "Bill Clinton's America sees no difference between families of `homosexual lovers' and the traditional, monogamous, faithful family...In addition, Mr. Clinton has surrendered completely to the pro-abortion feminists who dominate the Democratic Party."88 It's no surprise to find cites to the ultra-conservative Human Events and neo-conservative American Spectator in "Slick Willie."

Brown's bio establishes his ultra-conservative credentials and his success at attracting media attention:

    In 1988 and 1992, Mr. Brown's independent expenditure campaigns supporting President Bush produced effective and memorable ads including the now-famous "Willie Horton ad." In 1991 Citizens United produced the highly controversial ad "Who Will Judge the Judge" in its successful campaign supporting Judge Clarence Thomas' nomination to the Supreme Court...A frequently sought after commentator and lecturer, Mr. Brown has appeared on radio and television talk shows including CNN's Crossfire and Inside Politics, NBC News, ABC's Prime Time Live, CBS News, FOX Morning News, Comedy Central's Politically Incorrect, Donahue, and many more.89

Brown remains proud of the 1988 Willie Horton ad, widely denounced as racist pandering. In 1992, he attempted to place ads for a $4.99 paid phone call that would play tapes of Gennifer Flowers in a telephone conversation with then-governor Clinton. The hook was a promise that the conversation probed sexual matters. The incident was so tasteless that the Bush/Quayle campaign was again forced to condemn Brown and his tactics.90 Brown also arranged a screening for a reporter of Militia leader Linda Thompson's video, "Waco: The Big Lie," a potage of conspiracy theories linking Clinton to premeditated murder.91

In a 1994 Chicago Tribune opinion piece, reporter Carol Jouzaitis wrote that the main researcher for Citizens United, David Bossie, "harvests tales of alleged wrongdoings from a network of Clinton enemies, then peddles them to Capitol Hill and media contacts in hopes of prompting scandalous stories.92 Bossie was the main researcher for Brown's Slick Willie book, and wrote for ClintonWatch. Jouzaitis found that some members of the mainstream media regularly checked in with Brown for "for the latest Whitewater grist." For instance, Jouzaitis reported that "Members of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board...[met] with Brown and examined his pile of information." Following that meeting, "the Journal devoted nearly half of its editorial page one day to reprinting" materials obtained from Brown:93

    Brown and Bossie claim that "dozens" of networks, newspapers and magazines-including Time and Money magazines, NBC and the London Times-have used them for information or interviews.

When journalist Trudy Lieberman researched the influence of Citizens United for the Columbia Journalism Review, she reviewed some 200 news stories in late 1993 and early 1994 and found four stories where there was "an eerie similarity between the Citizens United agenda and what has been appearing in the press, not only in terms of specific details but in terms of omissions, spin, and implication." Lieberman tracked one incident where Citizens United repackaged previously reported charges about a letter from Vincent Foster in a more dramatic form, and sent the charge out to media contacts. According to Lieberman, "From January 1 to the end of March, twenty-three news organizations referred to the Foster letter-more than triple the number that picked up the story after the November 3 Washington Post piece." According to Lieberman, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Dallas Morning News, The Arizona Republic, The Boston Globe, and Newsday regularly featured what ClintonWatch had highlighted.94

The worldview of Citizen's United is easy to trace to the anti-Clinton Republicans in the House. According to an article from the New York Times News Service posted on the Free Republic Web Page:

    The dominant staff member of the House committee [investigating campaign finances] is its chief investigator, David N. Bossie. He reports directly to [Rep. Dan] Burton and not through the general counsel....He was an investigator in last year's Whitewater inquiry conducted by Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y.95

Bossie was later removed from the Burton probe for allegedly passing information to reporters.96

As reporter Francis X. Clines reports, Burton, an ultra-conservative republican from Indiana, seemed to have adopted the Citizen's United line:

    "Who moved the body?" Burton boomed from the House floor in rejecting the official finding of suicide and feeding conspiracy theories with an account of re-enacting the event in his own backyard by shooting bullets into a "head-like object."97

Brown's ClintonWatch newsletter, which referred to Clinton's "radical socialist agenda,"98 reflects the apocalyptic conspiracism commonly found in the hard right. Despite this, Brown's work reached deep into mainstream politics. In 1994, according to Jouzaitis:

    Rep. John Doolittle (R-Calif.) quietly invited Brown to give 10 junior House Republicans his highly partisan take on Whitewater probes. Brown's materials also have wound up in the hands of Rep. Jim Leach (R-Iowa) whose staff also has been doing its own investigation as the congressman presses for hearings into Whitewater. Leach's spokesman, Joe Pinder, declined to say how they got there.

Two of Brown's senior staff are veterans of the ultra-conservative subculture with its conspiracist worldview of communism as a vast left wing conspiracy-a worldview that originated in the Old Right.99 Cliff Kincaid is director of Citizens United Foundation's American Sovereignty Action Project. He the author of two conspiracist books on the United Nations, Global Bondage: The U.N. Plan to Rule the World and Global Taxes for World Government, both published by Huntington House.100 Kincaid's claims about the UN are promoted within the patriot movement.101 Kincaid also works for Accuracy in Media, and writes columns for Human Events and the American Legion Magazine, with a circulation of 3 million.102 In a 1991 article for Human Events, Kincaid red-baited groups protesting the Gulf War and quoted right-wing undercover operative Sheila Louise Rees, claiming antiwar demonstrations were concocted "by the traditional hard-line peace activist organizations that have always worked with the Communist Party U.S.A."103 Human Events is now published by Eagle/Phillips Publishing. Regnery Publishing is primarily owned by Phillips Publishing and the Regnery family.104

Michael Boos, a longstanding hard right ideologue, is the Legal Director of the National Citizens Legal Network, which is a project of Citizens United Foundation.105 In the Winter 1982-83 edition of the Young Americans for Freedom magazine, New Guard, he wrote an article headlined "The Nuclear Freeze Fairy Tale: Communist Front Groups Behind the Peace Movement." Boos warned that the "peace movement" is in fact not spontaneous but "Rather, it is a well conceived and thus far successfully implemented sinister scheme being directed by the Soviet Union through its front groups in the U.S. and abroad." In 1984 Boos spied on the anti-intervention group CISPES, then wrote a report titled: "Group in Nation's Capitol to Aid Left-Wing Terrorists." Boos also filed a story with the right-wing newsletter from Phillips Publishing, American Sentinel, and sent an unsolicited copy to the FBI, which promptly distributed it to 32 of its field offices. The FBI launched an official probe of CISPES based in part on the Boos report.106

Citizens United is an example of how the players and themes in conspiracist anticommunism shifted seamlessly to conspiracist antiliberalism and joined the campaign against a demonized Clinton, pulling their conspiracy theories into the mainstream media and Congress.

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