Reps rip pol ad discounts

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Several members of Congress on Wednesday asked Reps. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.) and Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) to delete language from their campaign finance reform bill language that would require broadcasters to give politicans deep discounts on campaign ads.

Signing the letter were Reps. Rick Boucher (D-Va.), Brad Carson (D-Okla.), Barbara Cubin (R-Wyo.), Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), Chris John (D-La.), Steve Largent (R-Okla.), Jim Ramstad (R-Minn.), Mike Rogers (R-Ky.), John Shimkus (R-Ill.), Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) and Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.). "Clearly, this provision will not have the desired results, but only unintended consequences," the members wrote. "Therefore, we ask that you oppose any similar provision in your campaign finance reform bill and urge you to stand with us and oppose such an amendment if offered on the House floor."

The House Rules Committee still was meeting at press time Wednesday evening to consider the version of campaign finance reform that would be offered on the floor during Thursday's one-day debate. Broadcast lobbyists were hopeful that the committee would strip the ad-discount language before the bill gets to the House floor.

If the Rules Committee removes the provision, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) wants to offer an amendment that would require broadcasters to sell politicians ad time at the lowest price paid for that time slot in the preceding 180 days. Broadcasters hope to defeat any related amendment from Slaughter with the help of House Energy and Commerce Committee Billy Tauzin (R-La.), that committee's ranking member John Dingell (D-Mich.) and House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.).
- Paige Albiniak

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