In the 1st Congressional District race, the fight between Reps. and William Lacy Clay escalated this weekend.
On Sunday, the Carnahan for Congress Campaign asked local television stations to remove a Clay ad for violations of the Federal Communications Act.
The letter further requested that Clay's campaign be asked to pay full price for airtime based on requirements in the Federal Communications Act of 1934 (FCA of 1934) and the Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) qualified candidate advertising rules.
The statement on the violations is as follows:
August 5, 2012
[Insert Station General Manager, Station and Address]
Re: Clay Jr. for Congress "Come On, Russ" Ad Legal Violations
I represent the Russ Carnahan for Congress Committee.
I am writing to request that you immediately cease airing the Clay Jr. for Congress “Come On, Russ” TV advertisement (the “ad”) because of two serious legal violations.
First, the ad violates the Federal Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which requires that the candidate’s written approval statement and a photo or image of the candidate appear for at least 4 seconds at the end of the advertising. 47 USC 315(b)(2)(c). No such statement or photograph appears at the end of the ad. It is in clear violation of the federal law which governs licensing and operation of your station. It also violates the Candidate Certification made to your station by the Clay campaign that it would abide by FCC requirements, including the 4 second end of ad disclaimer requirements.
Secondly, the ad asserts that Congressman Carnahan voted for House Concurrent Resolution 34 on April 15, 2012. In fact, Congressman Carnahan and Clay both voted “no” on House Concurrent Resolution 34, as did all Democrats. See House Roll Call 277. This clear falsehood rises to the level of defamation.
Because the ad is in violation of FCC requirements, it does not enjoy protection from defamation claims as do qualified candidate advertising. Accordingly, your station has discretion to carry (or not carry) the ad and potential liability for its. Accordingly, the Carnahan for Congress Committee request that you cease to air the ad immediately.
In addition, the Clay Committee must be charged non-candidate rates, as the ad does not comply with FCC candidate advertising requirements.
Please let me know how you intend to address these legal violations.
Very truly yours
KETCHER LAW FIRM, LLC
As of the posting time, Patch is unable to determine whether the stations have pulled the ad. The story will be updated as more information becomes available.
Clay and Carnahan, both incumbent Democrats, are facing each other in Tuesday's primary election.
Calls to the Clay campaign for comment were not returned as of posting time.
For more on the Democratic primary: