Blasting Swift Boats From Fortified Positions Onshore

Spending on political advertising — which includes candidates’ as well as third-party ads — is expected to reach about $3 billion this year, compared with $1 billion in 2000.
According to The Wall Street Journal, attempts are increasingly being made by lawyers from the campaigns to negate the damaging effects of third party ads against them. Negate, as in, having the spots pulled by the stations.
Compared with individual campaigns, the 527s have looser rules on financing and can take unlimited donations from individuals, with many substantial donors not known until well after the election has passed. Thus, they essentially “are not accountable to voters for what they say,” says John Zakhem, a Republican election lawyer in Denver who has been involved in several cease-and-desist actions against broadcasters.
While no one tracks the number of legal notices broadcasters receive on political ads, station managers and lawyers say attempts to block ads are growing both in number and intensity, particularly in states with closely contested elections. “If you’re these affiliates, you’re under siege,” says Michael Toner, former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.