The media reform group Free Press has called on Members of Congress to return all campaign donations they have received from the Motion Picture Association of America, the film industry’s largest lobby.
“The MPAA is so brazen in its efforts to buy legislation with campaign cash that its leader, himself a former senator, sees nothing wrong with threatening legislators on national TV,” Free Press Action Fund President and CEO Craig Aaron said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We think it’s time that Congress showed that its votes are no longer for sale,” Aaron added. “The first thing Congress must do is give back the MPAA’s tainted campaign cash or give it to charity. Congress must make it clear to the world that it won’t be bullied into supporting censorship.”
MPAA President Chris Dodd suggested during an appearance on Fox News that President Barack Obama and others were risking losing Hollywood campaign contributions for opposing two controversial anti-piracy bills, the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA).
“Those who count on quote ‘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,” he told Fox. “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.”
“I would caution people don’t make the assumption that because the quote ‘Hollywood community’ has been historically supportive of Democrats, which they have, don’t make the false assumptions this year that because we did it in years past, we will do it this year,” Dodd later added. “These issues before us — this is the only issue that goes right to the heart of this industry.”
Both bills were shelved after thousands of sites, including Google and Wikipedia, joined in an online blackout protest last week.
“Last week’s unprecedented grassroots uprising, in which millions mobilized against the Stop Online Piracy Act and the PROTECT IP Act, clearly got Washington’s attention,” Aaron said. “And we’ve since seen dozens of legislators scrambling to show they were really against these bills all along. But the real test is whether they will put their money where their mouths are by returning MPAA’s dirty money.”