Big Hollywood: Does HBO’s ‘Game Change’ Legally Meet the Definition of an ‘In-Kind Contribution to Barack Obama’?

An interesting question from our friends over at Big Hollywood:

Here’s FEC definition of an in-kind contribution:

Most people think of contributions as donations of money in the form of checks or currency. While these are common ways of making a contribution, anything of value given to influence a Federal election is considered a contribution. This section describes several forms of giving that are considered contributions under the Federal campaign law. All the contributions you make–whatever their form–count against your $117,000 biennial limit and your separate committee limits.

Donated Items and Services

The donation of office machines, furniture, supplies–anything of value–is an in-kind contribution. The value of the donated item (the usual and normal charge) counts against the contribution limits. A donation of services is also considered an in-kind contribution. For example, if you pay a consultant’s fee or a printing bill for services provided to a campaign, you have made an in-kind contribution in the amount of the payment.

The movie (donated by known Obama supporters) certainly looks like it fits the legal definition of an in-kind contribution to me.

HBO must be feeling the heat because they released this ridiculous statement today, trying to defend their hit-job:

HBO offered a statement that called “Game Change” “a balanced portrayal of the McCain/Palin campaign” and added: “We hope that people will withhold any judgment until they have viewed the film. In the tradition of past HBO Films’ release schedules, ‘Game Change’ is set to debut in the spring.”

Once again, John Nolte wrote a fantastic take-down in response:

Let’s start with this:

“We hope that people will withhold any judgment until they have viewed the film.”

And by people withholding judgment, HBO means, of course, those on Team Palin who screenwriter Danny Strong broke his word to about being able to see the screenplay or the film whenever they wished. Of course, when Strong made that promise he was hoping to get some cooperation from Team Palin that would allow HBO to in some way claim that the Palin Camp had validated their hit-job.

As things stand, as far as I know, no one who is pro-Palin has been allowed by HBO to see the film. But you can bet the house that left-wing entertainment outlets hostile to Palin sure captured themselves a screener. Why lookie here.

You see, this was HBO’s plan all along. What better way to bury Governor Palin than to only allow those hostile towards her to screen the film in advance. What HBO wants is for her and her supporters to sit there helpless as left-wing critics, broadcasters, and journalists beat her senseless with something only they’re allowed to see.

But let me ask HBO this. Is it okay if we judge what we have seen of the film? Is it okay if we judge the trailer — which a first-hand witness has told me ON THE RECORD is packed with falsehoods?

Is that okay, HBO?

How about this lie, HBO? You know, the one you’re drip-drip-dripping out in the form of screeners and/or partisan leaks? You mind if we respond to that?

But now we’re going to get to my favorite part of HBO’s absurd statement:

“In the tradition of past HBO Films’ release schedules, ‘Game Change’ is set to debut in the spring.”

Oh, well, my bad. So because of this “tradition” it’s just a coincidence your hit-job was was scheduled to be released just a few days after Sarah Palin might have secured the nomination after Super Tuesday.

First off, you might want to use Google before releasing these kinds of statements because … spring doesn’t begin until March 20. In other words, you’re releasing “Game Change” in the winter.

So much for tradition!

You can read the entire piece here.

Also check out Nolte’s piece on the LA Times poll, ‘Game Change’ Loses Choir: ‘L.A. Times’ Readers Choose ‘The Undefeated’ Over HBO Hit-Job.

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