The Evangelical Immigration Table, a coalition supporting immigration reform, has launched a six-figure ad campaign pushing Congress to enact immigration legislation. The ads, urging evangelicals to “pray” for a path to citizenship, include the disclaimer that they were “paid for” by the Table. This is odd, because the group doesn’t legally exist. It is a highly misleading claim.
Breitbart News confirmed on Monday that the actual purchase of the ads was made by the National Immigration Forum (NIF). The Table told Breitbart News on Friday that it wasn’t an incorporated entity or non-profit organization and had selected NIF to “facilitate” its work. A source at a media buying firm in DC told Breitbart News that NIF did not take the traditional commission on the ad purchase, which was described as “very odd.” It suggests NIF was making its own purchase of the ads, rather than simply acting as a “facilitator” of the buy.
This likely isn’t illegal. Because the ads don’t involve an election or candidates, there are no rules on disclosing who paid for an ad. I, for example, could pay for ads supporting tort reform and say the ads were “paid for” by Virginians for Civil Justice, even though I just made up that organization.
Legal isn’t necessarily ethical, however.
The National Immigration Forum, which, again made the actual purchase of the ads, has received millions of dollars in grants from George Soros’ left-wing Open Society Institute. It has also received considerable funding from the Ford Foundation, another prominent funder of leftist organizations.
Saying an ad is “paid for” by the Evangelical Immigration Table is very different than saying the ads were paid for by an organization with considerable funding from the institutional left. Viewers of the ad might be drawn to different conclusions about the legislation if they knew the actual source of funding.