Democrats Say FCC Disclosure Item Is Just First Step

A pair of Democratic representatives who have pushed for greater transparency in political ad disclosures were encouraged by the FCC's new clarification, issued this week in resolving a raft of complaints, but suggested it fell short of what they were looking for.

In a statement, Reps. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said: “While we are encouraged by this first step toward better transparency in the FCC’s political file rules, it merely highlights that more work needs to be done."

They said for starters that if the new Administration wants to "drain the swamp," it should include strenghtening disclosures so that it was clear that the "true donors" behind issue ads were identified. They also want the FCC's online political file database to be machine readable.

They said they would introduce new legislation to make sure that the public knows who is funding the political ads they see and hear.

The legislators introduced H.R. 2125, the Keeping Our Campaigns Honest Act of 2015, and H.R. 4179, the Fair and Clear Campaign Transparency Act, in the last Congress, but they failed to gain traction.

Luján and Yarmuth pushed for enhanced disclosure as members of the Communications Subcommittee, but both are no longer on the committee per the Democrats' selection process for new members Thursday.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.