Clear Channel Outdoor said it will remove anonymous billboards warning against voter fraud in the swing states of Ohio and Wisconsin.
The billboards began appearing in black and Hispanic communities in Cleveland, Columbus and Milwaukee last week, according to the advocacy group ColorofChange.org, which argued that the ads were designed to intimidate voters. The ads, which do not identify their sponsor, say "Voter Fraud is a Felony" and warn of penalties such as several years in jail and $10,000 fines.
"Allowing an anonymous advertiser to create an atmosphere of fear around voting just as the early-voting period begins is unacceptable," ColorofChange said on its website.
Clear Channel Outdoor said Monday that the ads should say who paid for them. "We reviewed the situation, and in light of the fact that these billboards violate our policy of not accepting anonymous political ads, we asked the client how they would prefer to work with us to bring the boards into conformance with our policy," said Jim Cullinan, a spokesperson for Clear Channel Outdoor. "The client thought the best solution was to take the boards down, so we are in the process of removing them."
Clear Channel declined to identify the client.