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Federal advertising with Black firms must be increased

Stacy M. Brown NNPA Newswire Contributor | 7/26/2018, midnight

It’s been more than a decade since the GAO published a report on federal advertising spending. The 2007 GAO report revealed that just five percent of the $4.3 billion available for advertising campaigns went to minority-owned businesses.

That report singled out five agencies—DOD, DHS, the Department of the Treasury, Department of the Interior, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)—for their spending with minority-owned contractors.

For each of the past five years, DOD, HHS and DHS were consistently the top three agencies in terms of the amount of advertising contract obligations they directed to specified businesses.

All three generally increased the amounts they obligated to these businesses.

For example, in fiscal year 2013, the three agencies shuttled over 60 percent of all federal advertising contract obligations to specified businesses; in 2017 they accounted for more than 80 percent.

In 2017, DOD obligated 30 percent of the $147 million in advertising contracts to businesses owned by minorities and women. That was followed by Homeland Security (27 percent), DHS (25 percent) and all other federal agencies (18 percent).

Those figures were up from 2013 when the same agencies contracted for just $75 million in advertising.

Leavell said that it’s good to finally have the report out. Now, the NNPA chairman wants to see direct action that will ensure that federal agencies spend more of their advertising budgets with Black-owned firms.

“We’re going to call on [HHS] to talk to them about Open Enrollment and other programs, so that we can figure out how to not only increase advertising in Black newspapers, but also to distribute vital information to our communities.”

Norton spokesman Benjamin Fritsch said the congresswoman was examining the report and would comment once she’s reviewed it.

However, Chavis said the NNPA would call on Congress to craft legislation that could force the hand of federal agencies to do more business with minority-owned firms.

“The NNPA, therefore calls upon Congressman Cedric Richmond, the chairman of the CBC, as well as members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) to forcefully raise our voices of discontent and reaffirmation of our demands for equity, for justice, for fairness and put an end to this kind of systemic refusal to treat African American-owned and Latino-owned businesses along with others in a just, fair and equitable manner,” Chavis said.

Stacy Brown is an NNPA Newswire Contributor and co-author of “Michael Jackson: The Man Behind the Mask: An Insider’s Story of the King of Pop.” Follow Stacy on Twitter @stacybrownmedia.