Last month members of the Senate Commerce Committee had the opportunity to question FCC Commissioners in a broad oversight hearing. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) pressed hard on the Commissioners to exercise existing authority to force disclosure of political TV ad donors. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), however, countered by underlining the deep divisions on the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 148) and warned the Commission not to get into the partisan debate.
In a follow-up to that exchange, a number of Republican Senators, including Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator John Thune (R-SD), the top Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, sent a letter to each of the FCC Commissioners last week reminding them of the FCC’s non-partisan tradition and warning them against undermining the integrity and independence of the Commission by wading into such a politically charged area. “We strongly urge you to categorically reject instituting the DISCLOSE Act by fiat, and instead continue focusing on the important communications challenges presented by 21st century technology," they declared.
NRB has previously filed public comments urging the FCC to reject a proposal requiring mandatory Internet disclosure by television stations of "political files" and information related to issue-advocacy organizations. NRB President & CEO Dr. Frank Wright then stated, “Current FCC disclosure mandates are more than adequate, making these new proposed regulations ill-conceived because they would make ordinary Americans – who just happen to be active in a particular political cause – vulnerable to targeted attacks by individuals or groups that disagree with them.”
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President Government Relations
Published: April 19, 2013