Trafficking advertisements on legal tender

Media | Familiarity

I heard on MPR’s MarketPlace this Thursday that the USA Network has been promoting the new “Traffic” series by re-introducing into circulation 50,000 dollar bills with a promotional sticker on them. (see the summary, hear the report). The reporter, Jeff Tyler, informed us that this was fully vetted by the company’s lawyers, so I suppose it follows that this was legal. I suppose that the removeable stickers are not permanently defacing the bills.

But should this be legal? What’s to stop anybody else from doing this? As with the electromagnetic spectrum, public parks and civic spaces, currency is a public resource that can’t be allocated to everybody all at once. Each has different conditions for which its use is permitted for a particular group. I’d assume that government buildings are in the class by which there’s no conditions whatsoever to use for private advertising purposes. You cannot just walk over to a Federal Courthouse and paste flyers up on it– removeable or not.

Are there laws on this? Discuss.