Wheeler: No Near-Term Plans to Review Political Ad Disclosures

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler signaled Thursday that he has no current plans to revisit the FCC's political ad disclosure rules.

That came in response to a question following the FCC's May meeting about the fact that a bill that would require the FCC to boost those disclosures for issue-oriented ads from Super PACs was not getting traction in the House, while legislators had said the FCC could make the changes on its own initiative.

Currently, the disclosure rules require identifying the PAC, but not the money that might fund it. The name of the Democratic-backed bill, the Keep Our Campaigns Honest Act (or KOCH Act, as in Republican super-donors the Koch brothers) suggests where the Democrats are coming from. They want the funders of the PACs also to be named in broadcast and cable TV and radio ads.

Wheeler suggested the FCC is not going there, at least not now, given everything else on its plate at the moment.

He said if Congress scts, the FCC will certainly follow suit. But as to doing its own revamp, he said, "We have a long list of difficult telecommunications-related decisions that we are dealing right now, and that will be remain our focus at this point in time."

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.