Watchdog may pressure FCC on political ad disclosure


Democrat and Republican
Free Press wants the FCC to use its power to demand that sponsors of advertising – any advertising – identity themselves. It notes the recent GAO report which stated that the FCC is falling short in this regard, particularly in the political category, and is considering applying pressure on the Commission for action.

Free Press noted that the political windfall in 2012 was $3B – and commented that much of the content of the advertising was “misinformation.”

The watchdog charged that instead of providing information on the candidates and their positions, media outlets were simply running the advertising and fattening their bank accounts.

Free Press noted that a petition from Andrew Schwartzman seeking enforcement of the disclosure requirement has been ignored.

Free Press concluded, “Such industry players wield way too much influence at the FCC. The will to confront campaign finance issues, expose the dark money behind political ads and enforce the rules won’t come from inside D.C. but from people like you and me. We can pressure the FCC to mandate better disclosure in political ads. It’s a move that would give Americans the information they need to decide whether a political message is true, and the messenger credible.”

 RBR-TVBR observation: What a tangled mess! The issue of campaign reform is generally frowned upon on the Republican side of the aisle – and therefore faces the dual headwinds of a Republican majority in the House and an effective Republican filibuster threat in the Senate. And it may not even be a universal desire among Democrats, many of whom have funding sources they may want to protect.

On top of that, there are court rulings which have taken the last major piece of campaign reform legislation, popularly known as McCain-Feingold – and eviscerated it piece by piece, including most recently the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

Now the call comes for the bureaucrat class to step in. It’s hard to see a clear path forward for that idea – it could possibly become a race between the legislative and the judicial to see which could undo it the fastest.

The bottom line, we believe, is that the FCC may indeed be pressured to do something, but we sincerely doubt that anything lasting or meaningful will come out of it.