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Author: IlanBigfoot Three stars, 500 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 6  
Subject: Lamar censors free speech Date: 12/2/2005 6:14 PM
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http://www.democrats.org/lamar

Mr. Kevin P. Reilly, Jr.
Chairman & CEO
Lamar Advertising Co.
5551 Corporate Blvd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Dear Mr. Reilly:

We are writing on behalf of the Democratic National Committee to demand that Lamar honor a contract its Huntington, West Virginia office entered with the DNC for placement of two billboard advertisements in Portsmouth, Ohio. These advertisements accurately referred to a statement made by U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives attacking a respected Member of Congress and decorated [Korean and Vietnam] war veteran [Marine Colonel John Murtha (D-Penn)]. The advertisements were aimed at informing her constituents about this statement, and called on Rep. Schmidt to cease such attacks.

The DNC was told by your Huntington regional manager that Lamar is refusing to honor the contract because the advertisements are "too negative." In addition to refusing to honor the contract for the Portsmouth billboards, Lamar, through its Cincinnati office, refused to accept the same advertisement for placement on billboards in Cincinnati.

While Lamar's form contract reserves to the company the right to refuse to run a billboard advertisement, Lamar's conduct in this instance raises serious questions about whether the company is unlawfully or improperly using corporate resources to favor or benefit the Republican Party or Rep. Schmidt. Your regional manager was unable to cite any company policy providing any objective standards or criteria for rejecting political or advocacy advertising.

Rep. Schmidt's constituents are entitled to know what she is saying on the floor of the U.S. House and the DNC has a right to tell them. Lamar should either offer a credible reason for its efforts to censor the Democratic Party or else should live up to its contractual obligation and let the DNC put up its billboard and let the people of Rep. Schmidt's district hear the truth.

Please let us know immediately whether Lamar intends to honor its contract--and if not, why. Fairness and the public interest demand no less.

Sincerely,

Joseph Sandler, General Counsel, Democratic National Committee
Amanda LaForge, Chief Counsel Democratic National Committee
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