A panel of House Republicans blocked new FCC guidelines Thursday that would have forced television stations affiliated with the four top networks in the fifty largest markets to reveal who’s funding political advertisements online. The LA Times reported Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) contended that fiscal matters are private and should stay that way.
The FCC proposal had cleared in April but the House Appropriations financial subcommittee voted along party lines to prevent it from being implemented.
The Democrats on the subcommittee were unsuccessful in their attempt to strip the rider, which blocked the FCC from funding the bill.
Stations are already obligated to make records available to the public, but most stations keep paper files, making it more difficult to track. Television stations have been hesitant to make the records available despite several groups and media organizations calling for the information to be posted online. Political operatives and other insiders can obtain the information through high-priced subscription services.
A group of Kent State journalism students responding to a similar challenge from Bill Moyers made a video to demonstrate how difficult the task can be.
In light of the Citizens United decision, the American people deserve to know if the money supporting political ads is even coming from inside of this country.
Kimberley A. Johnson is an author and The Spokeswoman for Rock The Slut Vote, an organization standing up and fighting the war on women. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and “like” the Rock The Slut Vote Facebook page