Courtesy of MCT
A petition on the White House’s “We the People” website is calling for the Motion Picture Association of America chairman and CEO Chris Dodd to be investigated for “blatant bribery.” The petition, started on Jan. 21, has gained 31,034 signatures as of Tuesday evening, which warranted an official White House response.
The petition accuses former Sen. Dodd of bribery for comments made on Fox News warning President Barack Obama about his opposition to the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s Protect IP Act (PIPA).
“Candidly, 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,” Dodd told Fox News on Jan. 19. “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.”
The petition argues the comment was an “open admission of bribery” and Dodd was flouting an “above the law” status.
After the signatures were taken, the White House released a statement that they would not comment on the matter.
“Thank you for signing this petition. We appreciate your participation in the We the People platform on Whitehouse.gov. However, consistent with the We the People Terms of Participation and our responses to similar petitions in the past, the White House declines to comment on this petition because it requests a specific law enforcement action,” the White House said.
“I think the man is an a–hole,” said Wright Fong, a fifth-year in English. “The idea that he can flaunt his money and blatant bribery of politicians in front of the American people is plain offensive.”
Paul Beck, a professor of political science at OSU, said no court in the world would take the case.
“There’s nothing actionable there,” Beck said.
A spokesperson for the MPAA released a statement regarding the claim of bribery.
“Senator Dodd was merely making the obvious point that people support politicians whose views coincide with their own. When politicians take positions that people disagree with, those people tend not to support those politicians,” the spokesperson said.
Similar to the current issue, a 2007 Washington Supreme Court case, Rickert v. Pub. Disclosure Comm’n, overturned a law regulating the content of political advertisements. The law was found to violate candidates’ First Amendment rights.
“The notion that the government, rather than the people, may be the final arbiter of truth in political debate is fundamentally at odds with the First Amendment,” wrote Justice Jim Johnson in the lead opinion for the court.
Beck referred to lobbyists, such as those of the MPAA, as a “modern fact of life” when talking about Dodd’s comments.
Support for SOPA and PIPA dwindled after thousands of sites participated in a blackout protest earlier this month. Both bills were postponed shortly after the protests. Petitions on “We the People” warrant an official response if they reach 30,000 or more signatures within 30 days. This petition, which reached more than 30,000 signatures in less than 10 days, has yet to receive a response.
Fong plans to sign the petition, but said he feels like the whole program is a case of the government “pretending to listen to you while not really listening to you.”