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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

image for Naming rights to federal buildings available by auction

Naming rights to thousands of federal buildings throughout the United States will go up for auction next month, thanks to the latest effort by Congress to restore balance to the nation's finances.

Federal buildings have traditionally only been named after individuals, typically former elected officials, but the success of the nation's sports and entertainment facilities with names like The Staples Center in Los Angeles and Bank of America Ballpark in Arizona, leaders decided the business was too lucrative to pass up.

"Come October, the President may be conducting news conferences from The Glidden Paint, Ultra-Brite, High-Gloss White House," a White House spokesperson said. "We respectfully ask that the media comply with our request to always refer to each location by it's proper name, including the sponsors, from that point forward."

Sports franchises have made millions through short-term agreements with corporations in exchange for exclusive naming rights to venues. Sports franchises were ridiculed at first for their decision to sell the naming rights to fan-favorite locations, but these days fans barely flinch at the sponsor-named facilities, even when the names change.

"I would love to leave the Pfizer White House every morning and make my way past the Toys-R-Us Pentagon on the way to the Amazon.com LIbrary of Congress to research political science theory, so long as I knew it was benefiting this great nation" President Barack Obama said.

Critics claim this move opens the door for corporations to corrupt American politics, and get a firm grip on the inner-workings of the nation's government.

"Our government should not be seeking ways to promote private businesses via public forum. This is the antithesis of protecting the people from enemies and vultures," Brandt Von Erich, an anti-corporate-naming activist."

Von Erich says corporate naming of public buildings is yet another step toward a corporate-owned United States.

Other political pundits disagree with Von Erich and his followers.

"Would we rather these companies continue to funnel money into our political landscape on the sly," asked Rollo Jenkins, political analyst for the non-profit group Stop-Corp. "The corporate influence on Washington is common knowledge. This is the time for an idea like this to thrive and benefit us all."

Several companies have already expressed interest in participating in the auction.

Facebook, Wal-Mart, DuPont, Ford Motor Company, and Coca Cola have made public statements assuring their participation in the upcoming auction.

Many fear less-than-desirable companies may swoop in and buy naming rights. At present, there are no stipulations to prevent any U.S. company from participating in the auction.

Anheuser Busch, Jack Daniels, Charmin Toilet Paper, Playboy Magazine, RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co., the non-profit National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and even GGW Brands - makers of the Girls Gone Wild videos- have also expressed interest.

"It would be an embarrassment if this results in something like the Camel Cigarettes Center for Disease Control Building, The Don't Squeeze the Charmin Ultra Federal Bureau of Investigation Headquarters, NORML Office of National Drug Control Policy Building or the Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey Federal Reserve Building," Von Erich said.

The auctions are expected to offer 5-year naming rights deals exclusively. To date, no restrictions have been defined in the latest draft of the plan. A specific date for the auction has not been set.

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