Congress, the Supreme Court and the Federal Election Commission (FEC) can’t or won’t do anything about the anonymous campaign donors who keep stealing elections. But the FCC
has finally come to the rescue.
Not all secret campaign donors will be exposed, but the FCC has put a major dent in the problem. Local TV affiliates of the major networks will be required to publicize, online, some basic information about the political ads they broadcast. With just a few clicks you’ll be able to find out who paid for each political ad and how much they paid.
This FCC ruling will cover about sixty percent of the political TV ads we’ll be getting swamped with. It’s a start anyway.
For the other forty percent of TV stations that aren’t covered by this ruling, the information is available but you have to go to the physical location of that station and request a paper copy of the information you want. Aw come on, you’ve got plenty of time to do that, right?
The FCC vote was 2 to 1 in favor of this ruling. Needless to say, the one Republican commissioner was the dissenting vote. It also goes without saying that the broadcast industry is having a mass pantytwist over this new rule.
You know the drill: too much paperwork, too cumbersome, too much government intrusion, yada yada...
A watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, had been urging the FCC to make this ruling. A spokesperson said:
“With so much secret political spending by shadowy outside groups flooding our airwaves, it is more important than ever that we have some information regarding the identities of those who are trying to influence our votes. Like so many things in Washington these days, the decision to make these allegedly publicly available documents online seems like a no-brainer.”
It most definitely is a no-brainer. Whatever anyone thinks about campaign finance laws, the public has a right to know who it is that’s purchasing the electoral process right out from under us. And now, thanks to the FCC’s ruling, we can finally lift up that rock and get a good look at the slimy slippery vermin that have been squiggling underneath it.
Thank you FCC; or at least two out of the three of you.
Labels: Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, FCC secret campaign donors, political ads information online