IRS Spending and the Promotional Products Industry

As you know, last week, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration released its report on a 2010 IRS conference, citing instances of IRS conference planners not following established procurement policies. Included in this report were detailed accounts of IRS purchases of promotional products.

I, like many of you, was disappointed by the IRS’ conduct of late, but I was dismayed by the ensuing media portrayal of our industry. Simply because our products are tangible, memorable and long-lasting—all attributes that contribute to their effectiveness—they are easy targets for sound bites. However, it is important to realize that the media coverage was not an attack on the promotional products industry, but rather focused on the IRS.

Upon review with our D.C. lobbyists, our legal counsel and our Government Relations Action Council, we will continue to monitor this situation very closely, but we will not attempt to engage members of Congress in a discussion of IRS procurement practices until an environment more conducive to a productive conversation emerges.

We were in front of members of Congress as recently as April of this year, during our fourth annual Legislative Education and Action Day (L.E.A.D.), and will continue to meet with them to reinforce our messages regarding the value and effectiveness of promotional products.

Many legislators still don’t fully understand that promotional products are the most cost-effective method for businesses, nonprofits and government entities to market and raise awareness of their programs. Too few elected officials know how essential promotional products are to the marketing mix, and the industry, to the national economy.

I urge you to add your voice to ours and remind your Washington DC representatives that the promotional products industry provides more than 432,000 jobs and nearly $18 billion annually by using this link to send an email to your representative right now.

PPAI believes that communication with Members of Congress should be done every day. As relationships develop between industry leaders and Congress, a greater understanding about our industry will materialize. It is important for PPAI members to stay connected with their elected officials in the continued effort to keep promotional products working.

Don’t put this off—take action today to protect your industry.

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