Thursday, June 21, 2007
"The Fair Elections Now Act" - Political Pickpockets
Congress is looking at forcing stations to cut their lowest unit political rates by an additional 20%. According to the NAB, candidates already get an average 30% discount through the current use of the existing lowest unit rates (LUR). The proposed government backed campaign-funding program that the Senate is considering, is a bill that would cut LUR to even lower levels. It's known as The Fair Elections Now Act (S. 1285) and I certainly don't think it's fair to everybody. The bill not only reduces rates, kill scheduling options, expands the pool of advertisers receiving discounts and directly taxes broadcasters. The new bill would force stations to offer a fixed rate 20% below LUR (it's monpreemptable as it is currently as well), and would apply during the 45-day period prior to a primary election and 60 days before a general election. In addition, it would extend these rights to the federal party committees. Finally, adding to the pain, it would impose a 2% tax on gross broadcast advertising revenues to give politicians and committees a "Political Advertising Voucher Account." They say that history repeats itself and it this case it appear to be true. In 1980 Congress tried to put a similar system in place with little success do to the powerful broadcast lobby. NAB Chief David Refr is running point for the industry on this and insiders say its prospects appear dim.