By Tony Katz
Congressman Gary Peters (D-Mich.) is sending letters from his lawyer to a local television station to get them to stop running an ad about Obamacare from Americans for Prosperity. Peters claims the ad is misleading. The letter demands that the station require AFP to provide documentation to prove their claim from a mother and cancer fighter who has lost her healthcare for the sake of, “FCC licensing requirements and the public interest.” Yes, Rep. Peters has threatened a TV station over running an ad opposing Obamacare.
The ad focuses around Julie Boonstra, a resident of Dexter, Michigan who claims that her fight against leukemia has been stifled because of Obamacare. Because of the rules and regulations of Obamacare, her insurance has been cancelled. Without the medication, Boonstra says in the ad, “I will die.”
Boonstra goes on to say, “I believed the President…I feel lied to.”
This is the feeling of many Americans, who believed President Obama when he said if you like your plan that you can “keep” your plan. As the ad points out, this was Politifact’s Lie Of The Year in 2013.
Boonstra then directs her words at Rep. Peters, who voted for Obamacare:
Congressman Peters, your decision to vote for Obamacare jeopardized my health…It’s time to listen to me…This is serious. Its not a game…Congressman Peters, Obamacare is not the answer.
Through his lawyers, Perkins Coie in Washington, D.C., Rep. Peters claims that the ad is unsubstantiated, and demands that AFP provide documentation to prove their claims and those of Boonstra:
Specifically, there does not appear to be any evidence that the Affordable Care Act has made Ms. Boonstra’s plan, or health plans generally, “unaffordable.” Ultimately, as the Washington Post concludes “a fuller accounting is necessary is AFP is going to run ads like this.” Unlike federal candidates, independent political organizations like AFP do not have a “right to command the use of broadcast facilities.” Moreover, you have an obligation “to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising.” Licensee Responsibility With Respect to the Broadcast of False, Misleading or Deceptive Advertising 74 F.C.C.2d 623 (1961). Failure to prevent the airing of “false and misleading advertising” may be “probative of an underlying abdication of licensee responsibility” that can be cause for the loss of a station’s license.”
Translation of Rep. Peter’s lawyers - That’s a nice TV station you’ve got there. It would be a real shame if anything bad happened to it….you know, unfortunate or something. Luckily, I know a way you can keep your station safe and sound. Wink. Wink.
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