July 11, 2001

Legislative Activity

This letter was sent to U.S. House of Representatives leadership.

July 11, 2001

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the American Advertising Federation, I am writing to express our opposition to the Torricelli Amendment to the Campaign Finance Reform Bill, which would require television broadcasters to provide candidates with commercial rates equivalent to the least expensive spot in the same time period over the last year and make those spots nonpreemptible.

The American Advertising Federation is the only national association representing all facets of the advertising industry - advertisers, their agencies and the media. AAF membership includes over 50,000 advertising professionals in 220 local advertising federations nationwide, including many local broadcasters.

The Torricelli Amendment is flawed in multiple ways:

  • While promoted as an attempt to clarify the lowest unit rate rule, the amendment is in reality a redefinition of the rule. In reality it would create a new nonpreemptible, candidate-only rate.
  • By requiring rates equal to the least expensive spot in the same time period, it would grant candidate rates substantially lower than the rate paid by the most favored commercial advertisers.
  • Artificially low rates would encourage more purchases, more political advertising clutter, and quite possibly, more campaign spending.
  • The Amendment is unconstitutional. The First Amendment demands that government regulation of speech be narrowly tailored and directly advance a governmental interest. The amendment fails on both counts.

We urge you to oppose this well-meaning but harmful amendment.

Thank you for your consideration.


Wallace S. Synder
President & CEO
American Advertising Federation