House, Senate Democrats Introducing Bills To Make FCC Strengthen Sponsor ID Rules For Political Ads
April 30, 2015 at 12:28 PM (PT)
Bills are being introduced in both the House and Senate to have the FCC require clearer sponsor identification for political ads on TV and radio from PACs and other nonprofit third parties.
In the House, Rep. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY), joined by 16 co-sponsors, introduced the "Keeping Our Campaigns Honest Act of 2015,’’ a bill "to revise its sponsorship identification rules so as to require the disclosure of the names of significant donors to persons paying for or furnishing broadcast matter or origination cablecasting matter that is political matter or matter involving the discussion of a controversial issue of public importance."
In the Senate, Sen. BILL NELSON (D-FL) is introducing a similar bill, reports BROADCASTING AND CABLE. A letter sent to FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER and provided to B&C by NELSON's office said, "Given the dramatic changes in technology in the many years since the FCC put forth formal guidance on these issues, it is only fair and appropriate that the FCC review its policies to make sure that American citizens are fully apprised of the identity of entities seeking to influence them ... In an era where billions of dollars are being spent to market products and influence political races with TV advertising, it is high time that the FCC update its rules to ensure viewers know who actually is footing the bill for these advertisements. The FCC’s recent steps to make the contents of public files accessible online are laudable, but they are no substitute for making sure listeners know who is behind the ads they are seeing on television and hearing on the radio." He said that he will introduce his bill "in the coming days" and urged the Commission to launch a "long-overdue rulemaking" to update sponsor ID requirements.