Amendment 2 opponents say John Morgan is gaming the system in the run up to the Nov. 4 election. Morgan is the major financial backer of the proposal to authorize the use of medicinal marijuana. He is also a major broadcast advertiser with his Morgan and Morgan personal injury law firm having offices in 16 Florida cities.
Drug Free Florida Committee alleges that Morgan is using his law firm’s ad buy to get favorable rates for Yes on 2 commercials. Its attorney, Richard E. Coates, has written station managers alerting them about Drug Free Florida’s suspicions.
Issue advocacy rates are different than those granted to large advertisers. In some instances they may be less expensive.
“DFF knows of at least one instance where a station ran the Yes on 2 ad because personnel at the station were not informed of the true contents as it was trafficked with Morgan and Morgan advertising,” Coates wrote Thursday to Florida stations.
Coates wrote the Tampa ABC affiliate pulled the ad once staff noticed the discrepancy between the ad buy and the spot’s content.
“DFF appreciates this station taking seriously its obligation to operate in the public interest and in conformity with FCC regulations to provide fair and equitable access to advertising to all sides of a political debate,” Coates states in the letter.
The letter reminds the stations are obligated to charge DFF and Yes on 2 the same advertising rates and expect discounts for DFF spots if the station provides a large-advertiser discount to Yes commercials.