A public interest group wants the federal government to force the funders of political campaign advertisements to be publicly identified by name, The Caucus blog of The New York Times reports
. The watchdog group, Media Access Project, is petitioning the Federal Communications Commission to do away with anonymity in political ad financing by tightening its disclosure rules.
The FCC has yet to take an official position on whether it has authority to compel fuller disclosure of who pays for political ads. Two FCC commissioners, both Democrats, support extra disclosure requirements in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The court said the government cannot ban corporations from spending on elections, but made no definitive ruling on disclosure.
The FCC says political ads on broadcast stations must “fully and fairly disclose the true identity of” the people or company that paid for the ad. But no disclosure is required if a company claims that it, and not the underwriter, has “editorial control” of the ad’s content. Media Access Project wants to close that loophole but does not yet have a majority of FCC commissioners supporting the proposal.
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