Linda Lingle’s Big Island Radio Station Ad Violates Communication Act of 1934

Today, legal counsel for Mazie Hirono’s U.S. Senate campaign sent a letter to Big Island radio station managers informing them that Linda Lingle’s campaign is currently running a radio advertisement that violates the Communications Act of 1934.  Consequently, “Lingle and her campaign have forfeited their entitlement to the lowest unit charge” for radio advertisements, and Big Island station managers should charge the Lingle campaign the same rate for broadcast time that they charge for non-political advertisers from now until Election Day.

 
As explained in the letter to Big Island radio stations, “The Communications Act of 1934 permits a federal candidate receiving the lowest unit charge to air a radio advertisement that makes direct reference to another candidate for the same office only if, ‘the broadcast includes a personal audio statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate, the office the candidate is seeking, and indicates that the candidate has approved the broadcast.’  47 U.S.C. § 315(b)(2)(D) (emphasis added)…. Lingle’s advertisement, which makes direct reference to her opponent, Senate candidate Mazie Hirono, does not meet this requirement.  Although Lingle states her name and indicates her approval of the advertisement, she does not identify the office she is seeking…. Consequently, Lingle may no longer lawfully benefit from the lowest unit charge.”
The radio advertisement that violates the Communications Act of 1934 can be heard by clicking here: http://youtu.be/1N0l2BWmaB8. If the Lingle campaign disables this link, click here to listen to the radio advertisement: http://youtu.be/ybqOwAodIts.
The full text of the letter follows (click here to see the signed copy; direct link: http://bit.ly/PjVp9x):
October 8, 2012
Re: Linda Lingle Senate Committee Ad
Dear Big Island Station Manager:
We are counsel to Friends of Mazie Hirono.  The purpose of this letter is to alert you to the fact that Linda Lingle and her authorized campaign committee, the Linda Lingle Senate Committee, are currently running an advertisement on your station[1] that violates the Communications Act of 1934.  As a result, Lingle and her campaign have forfeited their entitlement to the lowest unit charge for the duration of the campaign.  Now and until Election Day, your station should charge Lingle and her campaign committee the same rate for broadcast time that it charges non-political advertisers for comparable use.
The Communications Act of 1934 permits a federal candidate receiving the lowest unit charge to air a radio advertisement that makes direct reference to another candidate for the same office only if, “the broadcast includes a personal audio statement by the candidate that identifies the candidate, the office the candidate is seeking, and indicates that the candidate has approved the broadcast.”  47 U.S.C. § 315(b)(2)(D) (emphasis added).  If a candidate does not comply with this requirement at any time during the sixty days preceding the general election, that candidate may not receive the lowest unit charge “for such broadcast or any other broadcast … that occur on or after the date of such broadcast …”  Id. § 315(b)(2)(B).
This is not a requirement of Federal Election Commission rules.  Rather, it falls within the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”).  A candidate’s campaign must provide written certification to your station at the time of purchase that it will comply with this requirement.  Id. § 315(b)(2)(E).  The purpose of the FCC requirement is to require candidates to demonstrate their support for the statements made in the preceding advertisement.  Lingle’s advertisement, which makes direct reference to her opponent, Senate candidate Mazie Hirono, does not meet this requirement.
Although Lingle states her name and indicates her approval of the advertisement, she does not identify the office she is seeking.  Section 315 of the Communications Act specifically requires that the candidate identify the office she is seeking.  Because Lingle does not identify the office she is seeking, the advertisement is in clear violation of the disclaimer requirements of section 315.
Consequently, Lingle may no longer lawfully benefit from the lowest unit charge.  As a result, for the duration of the current election cycle, your station should refuse to run additional advertisements from Lingle or her campaign committee unless paid at the rate your station charges for comparable use by other non-political advertisers.
Please contact us should you have any questions regarding this matter.
Very truly yours,
Marc E. Elias
Jonathan S. Berkon
Counsel for Friends of Mazie Hirono
————-

3 Responses

  1. Hirono may be technically-accurate on an arcane rule from 1934 but this tactic does nothing to convince me that she should be my representative. I would be much more interested in a discussion of facts and issues, not in petty, vindictive, low-road Chicago-style political stunts.

    The ends NEVER justify the means. Only fundamentalist Muslims believe that.

  2. In other words, Club Mazie [she and her crony supporters] are feeling desperate and are wanting to fight back the only way they can—since Lingle has (over and over) proven to be the better informed and more effective, as a government leader (both as Mayor and Governor) and is only using the *facts* in her campaign ads.

    Club Mazie can’t stop Lingle from telling the truth about Hirono, but they can try to make it more expensive for Lingle to *tell* the truth.

    Cheers for a real choice for Hawaii’s kama’aina.

  3. Go figure. The cat’s out of the bag. People are finding out (if they didn’t know already) that Mazie is useless—even for a politician.

    She’s missed hundreds of votes in Congress and is obscenely partisan. No, really. She absolutely “lowers the bar” in terms of standards for political representation and effectiveness in office.

    She may as well be a decrepit old-fart like the dinosaur she aspires to replace. Thank god we have an effective, well-informed, proven leader—Linda Lingle—as the preferred option.

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