Mar 8, 2011

Washington Times says station funding advocacy efforts are breaking laws

The conservative Washington Times says that "lawmakers and conservative critics" insist public broadcasting stations are breaking two laws with their spots alerting viewers and listeners to Congressional moves to defund pubcasting: One rule that prohibits using taxpayer funds to ask Congress for more taxpayer money, and the other that bans nonprofits from doing lobbying work. In the story, spokespersons for stations including WGBH and WETA point out that their federal funds are strictly segregated from any money spent on advocacy. Last December, APTS and NPR sent to stations rules for conducting such advocacy efforts, citing court cases establishing the legality of doing so. "The bottom line is that public stations have a First Amendment right to advocate to defend federal funding and to use their donor lists to generate support for federal funding of public broadcasting," it said in part, "subject to restrictions on the use of Federal funding and certain other restrictions . . ."

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