IAB Steps Up Donations to Key Lawmakers

In June, The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s lobbying arm had its biggest month of giving yet. The IAB’s Political Action Committee gave $11,000 during the month to U.S. lawmakers and another advertising trade organization. The online ad industry’s most significant trade association, the IAB is solidifying its influence on Capitol Hill.

The recipient of the most IAB PAC cash in June was another PAC – the Professionals in Advertising PAC. According to a Federal Election Commission report, the IAB PAC gave its fellow advertising PAC $5,000 last month.

“Our CEO, Randall Rothenberg, recently joined the board of the Pro Ad PAC, so we made a PAC to PAC contribution to help the larger cause of that group,” Mike Zaneis, IAB’s VP Public Policy, told ClickZ News. “We have done a number of events in conjunction with the Pro Ad PAC and our two public policy agendas correspond and complement each other.”

Indeed, the two organizations have given money to many of the same legislators. Lawmakers who sit on key congressional committees involved with issues such as online privacy and consumer protection have received donations from both PACs since 2009, including Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA), Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL), Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY), and Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

In addition to funding his reelection campaign in 2009, the IAB hosted a fundraiser for Murphy, who sits on the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. Boucher heads that subcommittee, and has sponsored draft legislation on online privacy in conjunction with Stearns. Both Schumer and Menendez sit on the Senate Finance and Banking Committees, and dealt with issues that could affect financial services advertisers. Warner is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

In June, Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Ron Wyden of Oregon also got IAB PAC funds. The group gave $2,500 each to their reelection campaigns. Gillibrand chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Domestic and Foreign Marketing, Inspection, and Plant and Animal Health, which deals with foreign and domestic marketing. Wyden sits on the Senate Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee, a body that has dealt with online advertising and consumer privacy issues.

The lone House Member who received IAB money last month is Democrat Edolphus Towns, who represents parts of Brooklyn, New York. Towns’s reelection campaign received $1,000 in June from IAB PAC. Towns serves as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and previously sat on the House Commerce Committee. In the past, he publicly expressed concerns about consumer protection issues related to Google’s DoubleClick acquisition.

The IAB PAC, which is funded largely by online advertising and media industry execs, along with other PACs, began its 2010 giving to federal reelection campaigns in March. The group could be planning to step up its spending throughout the 2010 election season, as many lawmakers influencing legislation affecting the online ad industry are currently on the hunt for campaign funds.

In addition to its increased PAC donations, the IAB also aims to make a mark tomorrow during a House subcommittee hearing to discuss an online privacy bill introduced this week. Zaneis is scheduled to testify at the hearing before the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, he told ClickZ.

IAB PAC Donation Recipients through June 2010
Recipient Amount Key Committee Assignment
Castle Campaign Fund (Michael Castle, R-DE) $1,000 House Financial Services Committee
John D. Dingell for Congress (D-MI) $1,000 House Energy and Commerce Committee
Gillibrand for Senate PAC (Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY) $2,500 Senate Domestic and Foreign Marketing Subcommittee
Friends of Cliff Stearns (R-FL) $1,000 House Communications, Technology, and the Internet Subcommittee
Committee to Re-Elect Ed Towns (D-NY) $1,000 House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Friends of Mark Warner (D-VA) $1,000 Senate Commerce Committee
Wyden for Senate (Ron Wyden, D-OR) $2,500 Senate Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights Subcommittee
Professionals in Advertising PAC $5,000 N/A
Total in 2010 $15,000 N/A
Source: FEC reports analyzed by ClickZ News

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