April 27, 2012

Whitehouse Applauds FCC Decision on Political Ads

Decision Comes After Letter Signed by RI Senator Urging Action

Washington, DC – Today, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a new rule requiring broadcast stations to make files related to political advertisements available publicly online.  U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who is leading the Senate’s Citizens United Task Force, applauded the decision as a good step toward greater transparency in our campaign finance system.

“Today’s ruling by the FCC is the first of what I hope will be a number of steps taken to correct the flood of unlimited and anonymous election spending unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision,” said Whitehouse.  “This rule will help shine a light on who is paying for political ads and give voters timely access to important information.  It’s a win for transparency, but we can’t stop here.  We should also pass the DISCLOSE Act to put an end to anonymous campaign spending.”

Earlier this year, Whitehouse joined other members of the Citizens United Task Force on a letter led by Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon urging the FCC to approve this rule.  “With the 2012 election season already underway, citizens have a right to know who is purchasing public airtime to support or oppose candidates,” the Senators wrote.

Whitehouse is also the lead sponsor of the DISCLOSE Act, which would require super PACs and other organizations to disclose their campaign spending and the identities of large donors to the Federal Election Commission.  The bill also includes “stand-by-your-ad” disclaimer requirements that require any organization that puts a political ad on TV or radio to list its top funders in the ads.  The head of the organization also must appear in the ad and state that he or she approves the message, just as candidates must do now.


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