Civil liberties group challenges NPR, DHS on E-Verify credits

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The Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based civil liberties group, filed a Freedom of Information Act request [PDF] with the Department of Homeland Security seeking documents related to the E-Verify underwriting credits airing on NPR. The group also is pressing NPR to take the spots off the air. “The ad running on NPR is part of a political campaign to make E-Verify mandatory for all U.S. employers,” wrote EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg in a letter [PDF] to NPR Ombudsman Alicia Shepard. “Perhaps NPR could also look more closely at how the government tries to influence public opinion through expanded media presence and paid sponsorship.” The letter was cosigned by leaders of the ACLU, Free Press and the National Immigration Law Center. Shepard first weighed in on the controversial underwriting contract in her Nov. 25 column. Last week she discussed it on Talk of the Nation. This backgrounder [PDF] from EPIC includes links to critical reports on E-Verify and questions whether the NPR spots meet FCC standards for noncommercialism.