Congress votes to keep you in the dark regarding the funding behind political ads

June 6, 2012 | By | 1 Reply More

This is a mass emailing I received from Free Press today:

Dear Erich,

With their bottomless reserve of lobbyists and money, broadcasters are betting they can muscle their way into Congress and reverse a victory that tens of thousands of us fought hard to win.  And their bet has just paid off. A House Appropriations Subcommittee slipped a provision into the draft budget that strips the FCC of the ability to disclose political ad spending on TV stations. Moments ago that subcommittee voted to pass it!

We need your help right now to stop Congress from selling out our democracy:

Demand Your Right to Know. Don’t Let Congress Kill Transparency.

In April, the FCC adopted new rules that require broadcasters to make their political advertising files available online. The decision was an enormous victory for anyone hoping to shed light on the shadowy groups and Super PACs that are inundating local airwaves with misleading political ads.1

Yet as with any hard-won reform in the age of big-money politics, this change is being attacked by unscrupulous members of Congress who answer to fat-cat media lobbyists.

The National Association of Broadcasters paid lobbyists nearly $14 million in 2011. And it’s spending millions more this year on campaign contributions to Congress. But that’s a drop in the bucket compared to over $3 billion in political ad revenues that television stations stand to rake in this election cycle.

It’s clear that the broadcast industry is pulling out all the stops to bury information about political ad spending on the public airwaves. What’s more appalling is that some elected officials are willing to help them do it.

Please sign this letter to your members of Congress to demand that they serve the public and not media lobbyists. In the post-Citizens United era, we can’t let broadcasters hide their political profits.

With the help of you and your friends we can kill this before it reaches the Senate.

Thanks for taking action,

Tim, Candace and the rest of the Free Press Action Fund team

P.S. Last month’s victory against commercial broadcasters was a milestone in the fight for accountable media. We defied every ounce of conventional wisdom in Washington by proving that activists, bloggers, consumer advocates and everyday people can join forces with Free Press to defeat a corporate agenda. Help us protect that victory. Contribute to the Free Press Action Fund now. Thank you!

1. Timothy Karr, “Reform in the Age of Corporate Lawyers,” Huffington Post, June 6, 2012.

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Category: Media, Media Blackouts

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (1)

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  1. Adam Herman says:

    While I don’t have a problem with disclosure, I find it ironic that the whole purpose of disclosure is to fight arguments with ad hominems. “Barack Obama has presided over poor job creation numbers.” “That ad was funded by Big Oil!” Um, and how does that affect the point they are making?

    But see, those who want to use disclosure against the disclosed are relying on people being stupid. they think they’ll fall for the ad hominem attacks.

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