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K Street Files: An Oink, Oink Here

The advertising wars between broadcasters and musicians over performance royalty legislation has turned into a barnyard brawl. MusicFirst, a coalition representing recording interests, just released a new spot that refers to radio station owners as “piggy” and includes noises that sound like pigs snorting.

In the ads, which are playing in the Washington, D.C., market, an announcer says, “Big corporate radio is hogging public airwaves that the government gave them for free.” The ads then complain that the radio stations are refusing to pay the artists who help them draw in listeners.

The musicFirst ads are in response to a national media campaign by the National Association of Broadcasters. The broadcasters are running spots that claim legislation now being considered by Congress that would force radio stations to pay royalties to musicians would amount to a tax that largely benefits foreign recording companies.

Marty Machowsky, a spokesman for musicFirst, characterized his group’s media campaign as “a very modest buy designed to reach Members of Congress as they return from recess week.”

The NAB, meanwhile, has supplied its advocacy ads to member radio stations across the country who can choose to run them if they have available airtime.

Paying Dividends. The New York City-based Rockefeller Family Fund ventured all the way to Alaska to find its latest lobbyist. Deborah Greenberg’s firm, Full Spectrum Strategies, has signed on to press the fund’s climate change agenda with Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Mark Begich (D).

The Rockefeller fund supports an alternative to cap-and-trade legislation and is lobbying on behalf of the Carbon Limits and Energy for America’s Renewal Act sponsored by Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine). The CLEAR Act includes a cap-and-dividend system in which proceeds from polluters would go to taxpayers. It could be a similar model to a system of dividends Alaska residents receive for oil revenues.

“This is the one piece of the climate bill that does something for consumers, and that’s really important for Alaska families,” Greenberg said.

The experience the Alaska lawmakers have with the oil dividend makes them “really well-positioned to explain how individuals deal with that,” she added.

Greenberg said she plans to do most of her lobbying when the Senators are on home turf, but she didn’t rule out a trip to D.C.

The Rockefeller Family Fund’s director, Lee Wasserman, notes that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) “is not connected to the fund and no one affiliated with our effort has had any conversation with him about the CLEAR Act.”

Citizen Activism. Public Citizen on Tuesday made a special delivery to the office of Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.): a petition with 21,000 signatures calling for tough new banking reform legislation. Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs panel, is crafting a reform package that is expected to be unveiled within the next two weeks.

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