Sent Via Facsimile
Attention: Station Managers
Dear Station Manager:
This letter is to inform you that Club For Growth.net advertisement called "Bill Clinton or Mike Huckabee" that is currently airing or is about to air on your station related to the Governor's record on fiscal matters is false and misleading. Club for Growth.net has deliberately designed this ad to scare your viewers about the Governor's views on fiscal issues. In reality, Governor Huckabee cut taxes 94 times and returned almost $400 million to Arkansas taxpayers, including the first broad-based tax cut in the history of the state.
We urge your station to refrain from airing this false and misleading advertisement.
The Club for Growth's "facts" are Deliberately False and Misleading
Governor Huckabee has a consistent record as a fiscal conservative. While Governor, he doubled the state's standard deduction and the child care tax credit. Some taxes he eliminated altogether, such as the marriage penalty and the capital gains tax on the sale of a home. He reduced the capital gains tax for both businesses and individuals. He indexed the income tax to protect people from paying higher taxes because of "bracket creep." He left the state with almost $1 billion in surplus, setting the stage for further tax reductions. He cut welfare rolls by almost fifty percent, while balancing the state budget every year of his terms.
With respect to the allegations about tax increases, Club for Growth.net is deliberately misleading your viewer by failing to explain that a state Supreme Court decision while Mike Huckabee was Governor required immediate additional spending on education. The ruling came at a time when he had already cut the state budget 11%, and there was no choice between raising taxes to fund the court order or being in contempt of court.
With respect to the allegations about a gas tax increase, Club for Growth ignores the fact that over 80% of the voters of Arkansas supported a 4-cent tax on diesel fuel to fix the roads. As a result of this voter supported increase, Arkansas , a state that used to have some of the worst highways in the nation now has some of the best. Similarly, Club for Growth.net deliberately failed to acknowledge that a 1/8 cent increase in the sales tax was approved by the voters of Arkansas to preserve their natural and cultural heritage. The Governor would have violated his oath of office if he had tried to thwart the will of these voters. He did not raise taxes -- the people did.
Governor Huckabee did not raise spending by 50% as alleged by Club for Growth.net. With respect to the spending that the Governor had under his control, not federal pass-throughs and programs strictly controlled by the Democrat legislature, spending rose about six-tenths of one percent a year during his ten-and-a-half year tenure. In Arkansas , over 90% of the state general revenue budget is spent on three things: education, Medicaid, and prisons. So even if the state entirely eliminated everything else but those three, it would save less than 10% of the budget. Despite these limitations, the Governor still managed to enact budget cuts.
The Club for Growth.net advertisement also falsely claims that the Governor wanted to "tax the internet." This is patently false. In 2004, the Governor joined with 43 other governors to ask Congress to close a loophole in proposed legislation. This loophole hindered states in collecting existing sales taxes on Internet sales. The purpose of this letter was to protect billions of dollars in revenue owed for schools, state, and local governments without raising taxes and to create a level playing field for Main Street retail businesses.
Finally, the ads calls on voters of Arkansas to contact Mike Huckabee about a bill pending before the U.S. House of Representatives. Mike Huckabee is not and never has been a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and that body is currently controlled by the Democrat party. As a result, this advertisement is falsely indicating to your viewers that Mike Huckabee has influence over the status of this legislation. As recently as today, H.R. 1077 has remained in a subcommittee controlled by a Democrat House member since March 19, 2007 with no additional actions taken on the measure.
As shown above, the Club for Growth.net advertisement is demonstrably false and misleading. As an FCC licensee, you have an obligation to exercise your independent editorial judgment and refuse to air such a false advertisement. Your responsibility is not simply to oversee and protect the American marketplace of ideas, which is essential to the health of our democracy, but also to avoid willful or negligent misrepresentations in advertisements broadcast on your station. Based upon the above documentation, you are hereby notified that the Club for Growth.net advertisement regarding fiscal matters is false and contains deliberately misleading information.
Because your station is responsible for the airing of any advertisement known to you to be false, we urge you to remove "Bill Clinton or Mike Huckabee" from your broadcast schedule immediately.
We appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. Please contact me at 703-597-7100 if you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further.
Jill H. Vogel