IAB Gives to Re-Election Campaign of Privacy Bill Lawmaker

It should come as no surprise that the Interactive Advertising Bureau knows how to target. In this case, it’s not ads the online advertising trade group is aiming – it’s Political Action Committee cash. In April the IAB placed $1,000 each in the campaign coffers of key members of the House and Senate dealing with online privacy legislation.

The co-sponsor of a comprehensive privacy bill in the House, Congressman Cliff Stearns, received $1,000 from the IAB PAC in April in conjunction with a fundraising event. The organization has publicly criticized a preliminary draft of the bill, and long argued that industry self-regulation is preferable to legislation it worries could hamper growth of the online ad economy.

The federal privacy legislation draft is co-sponsored by Stearns, a Republican from Florida, and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Congressman Rick Boucher, chairman of the Subcommittee is the other sponsor of draft legislation, which has yet to be officially submitted. The IAB PAC contributed to Boucher’s re-election campaign in 2009.

The IAB also gave $1,000 in April to Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat and member of the Senate Commerce Committee. The committee has held hearings on issues affecting the industry, including one on the Privacy Implications of Online Advertising in 2008, and another held this April on children’s online privacy.

Donations were made to the campaign committees of Stearns and Warner. Stearns is running for re-election this year representing Florida’s 6th Congressional district; Warner is not up for re-election until 2014.

The IAB has been among the chief opponents of comprehensive privacy legislation, and commented on the Boucher/Stearns draft bill earlier this month. The group stressed the benefits of industry self-regulation and suggested that the draft unfairly singles out the use of consumer data for advertising purposes.

The IAB PAC, established in 2008, gave Congressman John Dingell, an influential member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, $1,000 in March. The money went to Dingell’s re-election campaign, and helped provide the IAB face time with the legislator at a fundraising luncheon held in Washington, D.C.

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