House Republicans Reject FCC Rule to Force TV Stations to Publish Who Paid for Political Ads

Saturday, June 09, 2012
Rep. Jo Ann Emerson
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are attempting to block the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from imposing a new rule that would reveal who is behind political advertisements.
The FCC approved a new regulation in April that requires broadcast stations in the nation’s top television markets to detail on their websites who is funding campaign ads. Such disclosure is already required, but only available if the public visits a TV station and looks through its files. The FCC wants to require TV and radio stations to make these files available online so citizens can obtain the information without having to travel to the stations.
GOP lawmakers oppose the FCC rule, claiming the online disclosure would be too costly for stations. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson of Missouri, chair of the financial services and general government subcommittee of the House appropriations committee, inserted language in an appropriations bill that would prevent any FCC funding from being used to implement the new regulation.
The bill must still be approved by the House Appropriations Committee and the full House before going to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
Meanwhile, broadcasters are trying to derail the FCC rule by filing suit in court to stop it from going into effect on July 1. As previously reported, between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011, the National Association of Broadcasters and its employees donated $549,450 to the campaigns of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and, over the past six years, $383,423 to members of the U.S. Senate.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
FCC Disclosure Rule Knocked Down by House Panel (by Adam Wollner, Open
The Information Needs of Communities: The Changing Media Landscape in a Broadband Age (by Steven Waldman and the Working Group on Information Needs of Communities, FCC)


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