Bill McClellan

Recent Posts

Top 5 Reasons Why Direct Response Pros Need to Attend the Government Affairs Fly-in

by Bill McClellan on Apr 26, 2017 7:57:46 PM

ERA's renowned Government Affairs Fly-In is just around the corner! Our plans for this year’s event are bigger and better than ever.  

If think that your company's compliance efforts can take a break because the Trump Administration is in charge — it is time to think again. State Attorneys General and Self-Regulatory bodies have made an effort to "pick up the slack."

Oh, and Congress has big plans too!

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A Story about “Big Luther” Strange III

by Bill McClellan on Apr 19, 2017 7:21:11 PM Government Relations

Today it is my honor and privilege to tell you a story about the junior senator from the great state of Alabama. Senator Luther Strange (R-AL) assumed office on February 9th, 2017 after his predecessor Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was nominated by President Trump for the position of the Attorney General of the United States of America. Back home and on the campaign trail, he is also known as “Big Luther” Strange.

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Blow-Back to Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Remote Sales Tax Law

by Bill McClellan on Apr 12, 2017 10:11:00 AM Advocacy, Government Relations

Back in January I alerted you to how Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Law would affect marketers. The big picture view is that the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined the review of a case that would require marketers to either collect sales tax on customer purchases in Colorado or report details of the purchase to the state tax collector.

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Do Direct Response Marketers Need Protection from the Phishers?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 29, 2017 2:30:23 PM Government Relations

 

I recently ran across some new advice from the FTC offering tips for businesses that are impersonated during phishing scams. I hadn’t given much thought to this topic before so imagine many you haven’t either. The FTC contends that computer users are not the only ones harmed by phishing scams. The simple fact is that industry is also the victim of these crimes as well. 

How can you combat these phishers? 

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What Do Direct Response Marketers Need to Know about the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 15, 2017 12:00:00 PM Government Relations

Earlier this month the FTC released its annual summary of consumer complaints from its Consumer Sentinel Network. It also released a new Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book which you can find here. There is a lot that Direct Response marketers should know about this data release and the report itself. It is important to understand that the FTC and other consumer protection enforcers use this report, and the underlying data, as a sort of roadmap for future enforcement activity. So it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for it every year. It is a great tool to help you understand and predict future trends in the consumer enforcement arena.

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Government Affairs Update from Puerto Rico

by Bill McClellan on Mar 8, 2017 5:00:00 PM Government Relations

Hello and greetings from my balcony overlooking the ocean here at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan. The view is so perfect I knew I had to include a picture of it or you would probably think that my claim was too good to be true. Anyway, it turns out that a little Caribbean vibe is very, very good for an ERA trade show like GIS 2017. First, if you don’t already know, the food in Old San Juan is just excellent. It exceeded every expectation and you have my strongest personal recommendation on that. Second, it is also clear that a little Puerto Rican Rum can serve as a great accelerant. The parties at this show had a little extra energy and island vibe that is impossible to replicate anywhere else in the world.

The education panelists were also just absolutely incredible at this year’s show. I mean people where literally leaving my onsite GA committee meeting early to go hear the speakers. So props and congratulations to the team that worked so hard to bring Dean Gaziosi, Brendon Burchard, Frank Kern, Alex Moore and the other rock star speakers down to visit with us. From now on I am going to make sure my committee meetings don’t conflict with ERA’s education. It’s just hard to compete with celebrities like that.

Thinking back over the week there were some interesting Government Affairs discussions that I want to update you on.

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Will Trump’s Cybersecurity Czar Cost Direct Response?

by Bill McClellan on Mar 1, 2017 3:00:00 PM FTC, Government Relations

Greetings from Puerto Rico! I am currently conferencing here in San Juan at the Caribe Hilton for ERA’s signature Great Ideas Summit 2017.  If you couldn’t make the trip we are sending you good vibes and sunshine and hope you can be with us next time.

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Operation Choke Point Meets the Trump Administration

by Bill McClellan on Feb 22, 2017 9:00:00 AM

At last year’s super successful GA Fly-In, ERA stormed Capitol Hill in search of relief from the Obama Administration’s Operation Choke Point initiative.   There attendees heard from our keynote presenter Chairman Pete Session (R-TX) of the House Rules Committee who enlightened the industry about the legislation to curb the scope of the Department of Justice’s “Operation Choke Point” efforts. We then met with key staffers from the offices of Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) responsible for the Operation Choke Point mitigation efforts in the US Senate.      

After our briefings, we walked the halls of Congress to advocate for the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act (H.R. 766) in the House and its mirror companion legislation in the Senate (S. 2790).   These critical pieces of legislation where our best hope to ensure that ERA and its members continued to enjoy a world class payment ecosystem as regulators in the Obama Administration looked at ways to cut processing for those they deemed to be “bad actors”.

So what’s up with Operation Choke Point now that President Trump is in office? I am glad someone recently asked me that question and I thought I would share with you the answer in the blog post below.

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Who Is This Net Neutrality Weed Whacker?

by Bill McClellan on Feb 8, 2017 3:00:00 PM Government Relations

President Trump just promoted FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai to the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. ERA and our member companies look forward to working with him in the years ahead to ensure our country has good public policy solutions that move our nation forward. 

While congratulations are in order for Chairman Pai and we wish good luck with the new role, there is one little problem with this appointment that must be pointed out.  It turns out that Commissioner Pai is something of an amateur gardener.  While a noble pastime, gardening can also be tricky and caution should be encouraged for a man with such an important new role.  In fact, from all of the reports I have seen to date, it is clear that Commissioner Pai should resist his green thumb urges and leave all of the weed whacking to the professional gardeners at least until the conclusion of his time at the FCC.

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Trump’s Looming Trade Wars

by Bill McClellan on Feb 1, 2017 6:00:00 PM Government Relations

Last week I was pumping up the Trump Administration for identifying Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes as a potential Chair of the FTC along with FTC Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen as the favorite for acting FTC chair. Both are seasoned consumer protection pros who would do a great job. 

Today congratulations are in order with Commissioner Ohlhausen having been appointed as the acting Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. As I noted last week, I feel a lot better about the FTC with this development.  Commissioner Ohlhausen needs no introduction to ERA having given us a speech in 2013 and again visiting with us for a fireside chat with Ed Glynn in 2015. 

Unfortunately for the President this excellent move at the FTC might be the only thing he got right last week. It was a rocky road on a number of other fronts. The administration was panned for its botched handling of executive orders on the immigration travel ban and it’s restructuring of the National Security apparatus.  These developments sucked up a lot of media attention and distracted everyone from another key story that we are keeping an eye on for ERA members.  That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity and tell you about the very real possibility that we might soon be experiencing the Trump Trade Wars.

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Sean Reyes For Federal Trade Commission Chair?

by Bill McClellan on Jan 26, 2017 9:00:00 AM Government Relations

I have some incredible news to share with you. Recent reports suggest that President-elect Donald Trump is considering Sean Reyes as the next chairman of the FTC. Currently he is the attorney general of Utah.

You may recall Attorney General Reyes’ keynote at the 2015 ERA Government Affairs Fly-In where he got a standing ovation from our attendees. He also had a memorable visit to last year’s D2C conference in Las Vegas where he joined a panel of legal experts to talk about self-regulation.

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Alert: How Colorado’s “Rat Your Customer Out” Law Will Affect Marketers

by Bill McClellan on Jan 18, 2017 1:00:00 PM Government Relations

Last year, right before Christmas, a big thing happened that you really need to know about.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined the review of a case that requires marketers to either collect sales tax for purchases made by people in Colorado or report on customer’s purchases to the state.

The industry has been fighting against this outcome since 2011 when the DMA filed suit in Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl.  ERA along with its partners in the True Simplification of Taxation (TruST) coalition strongly supported this effort filing and Amicus Brief in support.

However, all the appeals have been exhausted so now Colorado will want you to report. 

Here is what you need to know to get ready:

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Why We Love The Federal Trade Commission (And You Should, Too!)

by Bill McClellan on Jan 11, 2017 2:00:00 PM Advocacy, FTC, Government Relations

It’s been a “Yuge” year so far.

Last week I shared a “beautiful” cheat sheet to help Direct Response Marketers survive the Trump era and this week I’ve got something better.

What you might ask?

Well the only thing that can trump that would be the inside scoop straight from the FTC. That’s why I reached out to my friend and long-time FTC insider Lesley Fair.  She agreed to visit with ERA’s Government Affairs Committee to tell us “what’s really going on” so you can do a safety dance. 

Thankfully the FTC agreed to the visit as well. That’s why we love the Federal Trade Commission (and you should, too!).

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The Ultimate Direct Response Cheat Sheet for the Trump Era

by Bill McClellan on Jan 4, 2017 9:00:00 AM ERSP, FTC, Government Relations

Hello 2017!

It’s nice to finally meet you after all the bumpy election action we saw last year.  I am expecting 2017 to be “Yuge”!

No really, the Trump administration is just getting started with all its ideas and policies.  In the signature words of our President Elect “we have to figure out what’s going on."

In order to have a smooth transition through these changes, I have prepared this “beautiful” Direct Response cheat sheet just for you.  As we now say in Washington, it’s “Bigly” (or “Big League” depending on whom you ask).

So 2017 let’s do this!   

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The Trump Era?

by Bill McClellan on Nov 28, 2016 1:30:00 PM Government Relations

The election of 2016 is finally over.  By all accounts this campaign season was a no holds barred battle. The candidates offered contrasting visions for our country’s future that where robustly explored and vetted by the electorate.  No national consensus emerged on policy. Rather, voters split along geographic fault lines for their favored candidates.

A troubled nation, divided.    

Where are we now?

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The Consumer Protection Round-Up!

by Bill McClellan on Nov 11, 2016 1:00:00 PM ERSP, FTC, Class Actions, State Ag's, CARU

 

Last July the ERA Government Affairs Committee held a webinar that covered important information regarding consumer protection. 

For those unable to attend the live webinar, the Government Affairs Committee is pleased to share the recording for your convenience.

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Mobile Guidance for Interest-Based Advertising

by Bill McClellan on Oct 13, 2016 12:00:00 AM Advocacy

Earlier this summer, our GA Committee had a super treat from our friends at the Digital Advertising Alliance. We were joined by Geni Barton, Vice President and Director of the Online Interest-Based Advertising Self-Regulatory Council for the Council of Better Business Bureaus. 

Now that’s a long title!

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What's Up In DRTV? Manatt Knows!

by Bill McClellan on Jul 1, 2016 12:00:00 AM FTC, Self Regulation, DRTV

 

There is always a lot going on in the DRTV world. You know as well as I that it’s hard to keep up. That’s why we recently asked our friends at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, to brief ERA’s Government Affairs Committee about what has been happening the last couple of months.

The Manatt team of Marc Roth, La Toya Sutton, Lauren Aronson, and Holly Melton covered a ton of ground.

They Updated On The:

  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Food and Drug Administration
  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • State Attorneys General
  • ERSP Self-Regulation
  • Class Actions
  • Website Terms of Use
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Jet Into D.C. for the 2016 Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on May 17, 2016 11:30:00 PM

WOW! I am super excited this year about the Government Affairs Fly-In 2016 and our companion event the ERSP Summit, which will take place May 24-25 at SunTrust Headquarters right here in Washington, D.C.!

This year is already a huge success for these events with incredible speakers lined up for our industry guests.

From the Federal Trade Commission, we have Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, Associate Director Marketing Practices Lois Greisman, and Mary Engle, Associate Director for Advertising Practices.

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Why Operation Choke Point Legislation Is a Big Deal for Direct Response

by Bill McClellan on Apr 4, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Things are gearing up for the upcoming Government Affairs Fly-In! We have a great event planned this year with an incredible lineup of key speakers including Kyle Trygstad, Editor, The Hotline; D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine; Lois Greisman, Associate Director at the Federal Trade Commission; and Lee Peeler, President and CEO, Advertising Self-Regulatory Council. It’s a jam-packed lineup with more speaker surprises to be announced soon.

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5 Reasons Why Direct Response Pros Should Save the Date for the 2016 GA Fly-In

by Bill McClellan on Mar 9, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERA News, Advocacy

The renowned ERA GA Fly-In is back! This year’s event will be bigger and better than ever. 

The two-day event will be held at the Washington SunTrust Headquarters, starting on Tuesday, May 24th and concluding May 25th. Here is an overview of the two-day event to help you make your travel plans:

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Heads Up DRTV – The FTC’s Lesley Fair Is Back!

by Bill McClellan on Feb 11, 2016 12:00:00 AM

You might remember last year’s listener advisory where Lesley Fair filled us in with an FTC behind-the-scenes update. Hearing straight from an FTC insider was huge. It was one of our most popular blog posts last year.

Working with both Amy Mudge and Randy Shaheen over at the Venable law firm, we reached out to Lesley again this year to see if she would visit with the GA Committee.

Thankfully she agreed. Now she is telling us what is REALLY going on.  

Her presentation entitled, “2015 Top10 for Electronic Retailers,” has it all.

The hit list includes:

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Will Hillary trump Donald?

by Bill McClellan on Nov 4, 2015 5:30:00 PM Advocacy

Way back at the beginning of August I reported that the presidential election of 2016 was starting to explode early. I described a race where Hillary Clinton had practically locked up the Democratic presidential nomination.

That still holds true today. It is difficult to imagine a scenario where Hillary Clinton is not the 2016 Democratic nominee.

I was equally correct identifying an early surge for Donald Trump. He has grown politically strong while many of his competitors have grown weak.

However, I didn’t see the bombshells coming. I don’t think anyone did.

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TRUMP for President? [Is Direct Response Ready?]

by Bill McClellan on Aug 2, 2015 1:00:00 PM Advocacy

Donald-Trump1-196962-editedEarlier this spring, I reported to ERA’s Board that the 2016 presidential election had kicked off early. My thoughts on the race were simple. Press coverage of the campaign had begun to fill the vacuum left by Congressional dysfunction and inactivity. Further, in DC it just felt like President Obama had prematurely entered the lame duck portion of his presidency.

In the absence of action on policy, the press had turned to horse-race coverage of the next presidential election for good reason.    

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[DRTV 2015] Content Marketing & Disclosures

by Bill McClellan on Jun 25, 2015 3:52:00 PM FTC

It's no secret that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has keyed in on content marketing, labeling, and disclosures in 2015. The direct response industry is abuzz with behind-the-scenes chatter, giving those in the loop a heads up to pay attention. Often actions by the government can be confusing and not make much sense at first. It's only when you take a closer look that the picture becomes clear.

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