NEW YORK – Rev. Al Sharpton has a plan to force the federal government to spend more advertising dollars in minority-owned media, and has found support in the name of Sen. Hillary Clinton.
Clinton, D-N.Y., met with Sharpton's National Action Network on Monday to profess her support for boosting the amount of federal advertising money minority-owned media can receive.
"When I meet ... with representatives from so-called ethnic press outlets, they do a lot better job of covering many issues that never break into the so-called mainstream media," Clinton said to an audience attending NAN's annual convention, held this year at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers in midtown.
Sharpton, who is planning his own bid for president, said the lawsuit would be filed within the next two weeks in Manhattan federal court.
"We are filing this lawsuit because of the continued apartheid and the continued discrimination by many in government agencies in terms of their advertising budget and many in the advertising field that receive government money," he said.
Sharpton is angry at President Bush for what he says is non-compliance with an executive order signed by President Clinton to increase federal contracting with disadvantaged businesses. The order directs federal agencies to "ensure that all creation, placement and transmission of federal advertising is fully reflective of the nation's diversity."
"We're going after government agencies and Madison Avenue firms that receive government contracts for non-compliance under the RICO act," Sharpton said. "This executive order signed by the president has not been rescinded."
The White House had no immediate comment on the suit.
Clinton, who spoke in the same hotel at an earlier breakfast meeting of the Association for a Better New York, said she wants to make sure the money New York received for clean-up and rebuilding of the city after the Sept. 11 attacks was evenly distributed.
"I worked very hard to secure $20 billion for the rebuilding and cleanup of the city, and I'm going to do everything I can to try to make sure that a fair share of that is directed to minority- and women-owned firms and to make sure that there is an opportunity to participate in what should be a collective effort to rebuild the city and to sell the city beyond our borders," Clinton said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.