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.
Recently, the FCC floated an idea of putting monitors in radio and television newsrooms to see if they are providing the public the right information. Rep. Peters, via his lawyers, thinks old school threats are far better plan of action.
AFP has responded by putting together a protest at Rep. Peters residence. According to the release:
With some of Americans for Prosperity-Michigan’s most dedicated activists supporting her, Boonstra will stop by Gary Peters’ residence in Bloomfield Hills today in an effort to confront him directly about his attempts to intimidate and silence her. The media is invited to attend.
Luke Hilgemann, COO of AFP, when asked about Rep. Peter’s actions, stated:
Attempts by Congressman Peters to silence Julie are despicable and low. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he continues to support the Obamacare disaster, he now resorts to bully tactics and dispatches his lawyers to put a muzzle on strong women like Julie who have the courage to speak out. The Congressman owes Julie – and the thousands of other Obamacare victims – a very serious apology.
It is worth noting that the same level of scrutiny that Rep. Peters and his capos want put to an advertisement is exactly the scrutiny they sought to avoid in passing Obamacare. A “fuller accounting” would have led to the understanding that millions would be cancelled, lose the ability to keep their doctor or end up paying higher deductibles and premiums.
If Congress had an obligation ”to protect the public from false, misleading or deceptive advertising,” they would have talked openly about the part-time economy Obamacare would create. They would have been forced to speak out about the “like your plan, keep your plan/like your doctor, keep your doctor” lies. Certainly, there would be a more complete analysis of how much taxpayer money was wasted to build a website that doesn’t work.
Rep. Peters has no interest in his culpability. His move here is to intimidate a television station, slander 2.6 million American activists and silence a woman fighting for her life.
This article originally posted on Rare.