GOP to FCC: Don’t Take on Political Ad Disclosures

Citizen's United decision still dividing Congress

Nothing divides Congress more than political advertising. More than a dozen GOP senators warned the Federal Communications Commission that the agency should avoid passing any new rules requiring the disclosure of those funding political ads.

The letter to all five FCC commissioners was in response to a Senate commerce oversight hearing last month during which Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) urged the commissioners to do in rulemaking what Congress failed to pass in a bill.

The letter, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, was signed by more than a dozen GOP members of the Senate Commerce Committee, including ranking member John Thune (S.D.) and Ted Cruz (Texas) as well as minority leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.)

Ever since the Citizen's United decision, which lifted a ban on corporate and union funding of campaign ads, the Dems have been looking for a workaround. In response to the decision, Democrats introduced in 2010 the Disclose Act and reintroduced it in 2012.

By converting the bill into a rulemaking, the FCC would be going "outside its statutory role as an independent communications agency and weigh in on a partisan political dispute," the Republicans wrote in the April 10 letter. "It would seriously undermine the integrity of the commission and imperil its independence. Political issues should be left to Congress."

The FCC declined to comment.