Lawmakers Call for Full Disclosure of Political Ad Funders

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This week, 168 members of Congress called on the Federal Communications Commission to ensure the full disclosure of the sponsors of political advertisements in a letter dated Jan. 20.

In the letter, the legislators write:

“In today’s political reality of nonstop campaigning, our system continues to fail the American people by allowing special interests and shadow groups to flood our airwaves with anonymous ads, with no disclosure whatsoever.”

They continued, “We believe the Federal Communications Commission has the responsibility and the legal authority to require disclosure of the actual donors behind these ads.”

The signers of the letter go on to explain that Section 317 of FCC regulations require broadcasters to ensure the “true identity” of the sponsors of political advertisements, and that the FCC has, for years “failed to engage any meaningful enforcement” of the section.

That’s because for decades, the FCC has interpreted the section to mean that the entity that exercised editorial control over the ad was the true sponsor.

But the 168 members of Congress who signed the letter said the FCC must do better.

“In the new era of non-disclosing political organizations with intentionally opaque names, this interpretation is woefully out of date,” they wrote. “While a non-disclosing organization may have had editorial control over the advertisement, the true sponsors are those who contributed money to pay for it.”

To read the entire letter, click here.

 

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