Senators Ron Wyden (R-Ore.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have introduced a campaign finance reform bill that could take a bite out of media buys by boosting disclosures and thus potentially discouraging buyers.
The Follow the Money Act of 2013 would apply the same "I stand by this ad" disclosures to independent expenditures that they do for federal candidate ads as well as take other steps to standardize disclosures.
"These reforms reflect the belief that where there's significant campaign spending, everyone has to play by the same rules and that voters deserve to know where the money is coming from and where it's going," Wyden said.
They said in describing the bill that while, in most respects, it standardizes disclosures between independent spenders similar to those required of feds, it has lesser requirements for smaller spenders, in keeping with court decisions suggesting that reporting can unduly burden smaller players and therefore affect their First Amendment rights.
If the bill passes, it would not take effect until the 2015-2016 election cycle.
The carve-out for smaller spenders didn't appear to make it any more attractive to the National Association of Manufacturers, which said it would limit political speech as it is.
"The legislation introduced in the Senate today will hinder advocacy of public policy and have a chilling effect on free speech," said National Association of Manufacturers president Jay Timmons in a statement. "This complicated regulatory disclosure system will not be a tool for transparency, and would actually discourage political participation."
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