June 20, 2013


Corporations Advocate for Tax Reform

Forty-two U.S. corporations (including several AAF members) have formed a new coalition called the Alliance for Competitive Taxation (ACT).  The purpose of the Alliance is to advocate for comprehensive bipartisan tax reform.

One of the primary goals of the Alliance is have the U.S. corporate tax rate lowered from 35% to 25%. This would be done by “ending corporate tax breaks and preferences.”  No further detail is provided about specific “tax breaks and preferences.”  Reportedly a repeal of all “tax expenditures” that benefit corporations would lower the rate to 28%, but it would take extraordinary action to lower the rate further. One of the extraordinary measures that may be under consideration would be to terminate the ordinary and necessary business expense deduction for the cost of advertising and require all advertising costs to be capitalized and amortized and deducted over three years.

AAF will continue to strenuously oppose any effort to limit the full 100% current year federal tax deduction for advertising expenses.

Privacy Expert to Head FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez announced that longtime FTC attorney Jessica Rich will be the new director of the agency’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  Rich has served as deputy director of the bureau and spent eleven years in the FTC’s division of privacy and identity protection.  She drafted the first children’s online privacy regulations and was a key player in the development of the agency’s privacy program.  The appointment may signal that the agency will be active in shaping privacy policy and bringing related enforcement actions.

Bill Introduced to Limit TVs Watching TV Watchers

Representatives Michael Capuano, D-Mass. and Walter Jones, R-N.C. have introduced legislation to prohibit cable boxes and DVRs from watching consumers without the consumers’ prior consent.  Some companies have developed technology that would use infrared cameras and microphones built into cable boxes and DVRs that could observe the activities and conversations of television watchers and then serve up targeted television ads based on that information.  In addition to requiring consent, the legislation would require the words “We are watching you” to be prominently displayed in type "readable from a distance” for as long as the device is recording the viewing area.

Groups Call for Advertising Restrictions

In recent days, multiple groups have called for limits on food advertising to children. 

U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., Richard Blumenthan, D-Conn, Tom Harkin, D-Iowa and Dick Durbin, D-Ill. have sent a letter to the Nickelodeon cable network urging it to “prohibit advertisements that market unhealthy food to children.”

The European office of the World Health Organization has urged its member countries to adopt tighter controls on the marketing to children of foods high in saturated and trans fats, free sugars and salt.

Reflecting a similar mindset, the American Medical Association has called for a ban on advertising energy drinks to youths under the age of 18.

Despite the lack of any evidence of a causal link between advertising and obesity, most food companies already participate in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative in which they voluntarily limit the amount and type of products advertised to children.

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The AAF protects and promotes advertising at all levels of government through grassroots activities. Our nation-wide network monitors advertising-related legislation on local, state and federal levels. We put our members face-to-face with influential lawmakers while encouraging self-regulation as a preemptor to government intervention, when appropriate of course. To learn more about our advocacy efforts, click here.