FCC Reform Amendment Would Require Online Political Files

According to a copy of an amendment to HR 3909, the FCC reform Act being marked up in the House Energy & Commerce Committee, some legislators want the FCC to add online political disclosures by broadcasters and cable operators to that list of reforms.

The amendment, likely from Democrats who have been pushing for more political ad disclosures in the wake of Citizens United, reads:

"The Commission shall revise its rules to require the public inspection file of a broadcast licensee, cable operator, or provider of direct broadcast satellite service to include, from each entity sponsoring political programming, a certification that identifies any donors that have contributed a total of $10,000 or more to such entity during the 2-year period preceding the request of such entity to purchase time for such programming."

The FCC itself has proposed adding political files to an online TV station public file database it is proposing to administer.

Neither the amendment nor the underlying bill is expected to make it to the president's desk given the partisan divide over both in a famously -- or notoriously -- divided Congress.

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.