**FILE** Eleanor Holmes Norton represents D.C. in the U.S. Congress. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** Eleanor Holmes Norton represents D.C. in the U.S. Congress. (Roy Lewis/The Washington Informer)

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus — D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) — announced that 11 reports with the House’s fiscal year 2013 appropriations bills include their language directing federal agencies to report on advertising contracts with small disadvantaged businesses and minority- and women-owned businesses in their budget justifications.

“As the largest advertiser in the United States, the federal government has an obligation to ensure fair access for minority- and women-owned media companies,” Norton said. “Securing this language in 11 reports will help ensure that federal agencies are striving to reach minorities, who often get their news from outlets that serve more specific communities.”

Lee said between 2013 and 2017, just 13% of advertising federal contracts went to small, minority and women-owned businesses. The Oakland-based lawmaker said the 11 reports “create greater federal accountability for the federal government as an employer and promoting equity in federal contracting.”

Johnson noted the federal government consistently failing to spend its advertising dollars with Black media and advertising firms “which has led to messaging not being effectively disseminated to the Black community.”

“It is important to me to make sure the vestiges of Jim Crow racism are ended, and every Black medial company is treated equitably,” he said.

The CBC members joined other House members in sending a letter to the Government Accountability Office on the matter. In 2016, Norton led her colleagues in requesting a GAO report on federal agencies’ contracts which revealed two years later that only 16% of the federal government’s advertising contract obligations were procured by minority and women-owned enterprises.  

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