LOS ANGELES, OCT. 8 -- Presidential hopeful Jesse L. Jackson announced today he will seek to pull out of an agreement to lend his name to advertising for a chain of business schools.
Jackson, who earlier in the day said he believed there was nothing improper in endorsing schools operated by Allied Education Corp., made the announcement in a statement released by his Washington campaign office.
"In order to ensure that all campaign activities are not just correct but also appropriate, I have today asked my attorney to undertake cancellation of this contract," Jackson said. "The issue of education is too important to me and to our nation to have it overshadowed by any controversy."
Jackson, who is expected to declare his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination Saturday, arrived here today for a celebrity-studded 46th birthday fund-raiser. He declined to say how much he had been paid to appear in the ads.
The first print ads for the 22-school chain appeared Sunday, and radio and television ads are to begin in a few weeks.
In one newspaper ad for Barclay Career School, Jackson is pictured with the message: "I want you to be somebody, and you can if you try . . . . Pick up that phone and call now."
"It is not inconsistent with the consulting work that we have been doing" in support of education and family values, Jackson said.
Frederick Eiland, a spokesman for the Federal Election Commission, said the commission has approved appearances by candidates for charitable causes but he couldn't recall a commercial appearance by a candidate.
The federal law entitling opponents to equal time to match appearances by a recognized presidential candidate applies to all commercials, political or not, said Milton Gross, chief of the Federal Communications Commission's political broadcasting unit.
Roger Williams, director of operations for Allied, said attorneys for the Costa Mesa-based company see nothing wrong with using Jackson as a spokesman. Any demands by other candidates for equal time would have to be made to broadcasting stations that carry the ads, Williams said.
"The Reverend Jackson is a very masterful and powerful speaker," Williams said. "I believe they are going to be very strong commercials."
One of the advertisements appeared in Wednesday's editions of the New York Daily News. But Wednesday afternoon, the New York state Education Department ordered the school to halt publication of the ad.
Mark T. Williams, a department spokesman, said the ad made misleading statements about the availability of tuition aid and had not been approved in advance, as state regulations require.