Ads For Mass. Consumer Affairs Create Political Controversy

BOSTON-An ad campaign by CC and D Communications for the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs has been met with cries of foul play.
The Massachusetts Democratic State Committee has objected to the presence in advertising of Consumer Affairs director Michael Duffy, a likely Republican candidate for state treasurer next year.
Committee counsel James Roosevelt said the ads, paid for with more than $300,000 in public funds, amount to free promotion for Duffy as he prepares for a possible political campaign. It is against state finance laws to use public funds to promote a candidate.
Duffy last week denied those allegations and said he appears in the ads “in order to bring the issues back to the Office of Consumer of Affairs . . . I have not made a decision about whether I’m a candidate.”
Billboards and transit executions do not feature Duffy. He does appear, however, in a direct mail initiative that will be sent to 500,000 households in the Bay State.
The campaign is designed to educate Massachusetts homeowners about the state’s home improvement contractor law. The four-week multimedia effort is being paid for by the interest earned on contractors’ state certification fees.
The spots warn consumers about the hazards of using unlicensed contractors and instruct them to contact the Office of Consumer Affairs for more information.