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Clear Channel Targeted Over "Discriminatory" Voter Fraud Billboards

Clear Channel Outdoor Logo Bob Pittman Inset - H 2012

Progressive group Color of Change once scared advertisers away from Glenn Beck; has launched petition drive to CEO Bob Pittman.

The same progressive activist group that convinced several advertisers to abandon Glenn Beck's show on the Fox News Channel are demanding that Clear Channel Outdoor remove billboards that warn against voter fraud.

The billboards are in black and Latino neighborhoods in Ohio and Wisconsin and have been paid for anonymously, according to Color of Change, which is organizing against Clear Channel and soliciting help from like-minded progressive groups like CREDO Action Network and others.

The billboards read: “Voter fraud is a felony! 3 ½ Yrs & $10,000 Fine,” and a small disclaimer that they're "paid for by a private family foundation."

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Color of Change called the billboard campaign “one of the nastiest voter suppression schemes we’ve seen.”

Color of Change was one of the primary groups instructing advertisers not to buy airtime on Beck’s show a few years back. While Beck’s show drew a large audience, its advertising support from major brands dwindled and he and Fox News parted ways in April 2011.

The group has organized a petition drive, where online users can easily fire off a letter to Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, and William Eccleshare, CEO of Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings.

“That these billboards did not appear in white or suburban neighborhoods is proof of their discriminatory nature,” the letters read. “Allowing an anonymous advertiser to create an atmosphere of fear around voting just as the early voting period begins is unacceptable.”

A Clear Channel spokesman said there are 85 of the billboards in Milwaukee, 30 in Cleveland and 30 in Columbus, and he verified that those responsible for them have insisted on anonymity.

STORY: Color of Change Offers Sticker To Those Who Turn Off Fox News

Clear Channel issued a written response that seems to indicate some changes are in the works for other campaigs - perhaps the addition of disclaimers. A spokesman, though, declined to clarify.

The statement reads: "Clear Channel Outdoor does not comment on our advertisers ads. We are committed to ensuring that ads, including political ads, posted on our billboards have the appropriate disclaimer so this situation doesn't happen again in the future."

Email: Paul.Bond@thr.com