Skip to main content

FEC: Short Ads Must Still Contain Disclaimer

Short radio and TV political spots must still carry a spoken disclaimer.

In its first substantive opinion since seating a full complement of commissioners, the Federal Election Commission unanimously concluded that even 10- and 15-second TV and radio ads for or against federal candidates must include the spoken disclaimer at the end identifying the group responsible for the ad.

The Club for Growth PAC sought an exemption from the spoken-disclaimer requirement last fall for the ads, or at least the ability to truncate the so-called stand-by-your-ad disclaimers (or "claimers," as the case may be), but the commissioners said there was no wiggle room in the law.

The order was originally drafted last January, but it had to wait for a vote because up until a few weeks ago, the FEC had only two commissioners, while four are needed for a vote.

The Campaign Legal Center, which opposed the exemption, was pleased with the decision.

"Given the agency’s spotty record for enforcing federal campaign-finance statutes," the center said in a statement, "the Campaign Legal Center is encouraged by the fact that the newly reconstituted commission did the right thing today by applying the statute as written."

John Eggerton
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.