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Equal Opportunity? Government Launches Study to Determine Fairness of Federal Minority Ad-Study

Chronic under-investment in minority owned media spurns investigation.


Following legislation that was passed to aid in channeling resources to minority-owned media companies, which have historically been under-patronized by the federal government, a study is being launched to determine the extent to which such channeling is actually taking place.

Executive Order 13170 was announced in October of 2000 and mandated that federal agencies reach out to minority-owned and disadvantaged media businesses. A hearing on the matter was held three years later that concluded that minority business concerns were at the heart of job growth and the U.S.' overall stability. Consequently, Congress passed into law a resolution that reinforced the prior executive order and demanded an “increase [in] contracting for Federal advertising between the Federal Government and minority business concerns.”

Little action followed these orders, and finally in May of 2006, after rigorous pursuit by the NAHP, Senator Kerry requested a study by the General Accounting Office to see if minority businesses were getting a fair share of federal advertising.

Due to logistical constraints, a full survey of all federal spending directed at minority business interests was deemed impossible, but a scaled-down and fairly representative survey was approved, the results of which are expected at the end of the year.

Upon conclusion of the study it will be informative to measure the progress that has been made. Prior to any legislation, approximately 91 percent of the total federal advertising budget was channeled to large agencies, none of which were owned by women or minorities.

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