A public interest group wants the Federal Communications Commission to tighten regulations for political ads to increase transparency about their backers.
Media Access Group, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit law and advocacy group, argues that existing FCC rules need to be updated to better reflect the way political ads are funded today. The group says there has been a new wave of spending by organizations not required to disclose their donor’s identity.
“We are asking for very minor tweaks on rules that have been in place since 1944,” said Andrew Jay Schwartzman, MAP senior vice president and policy director.
Media Access Project has requested that campaign ads be forced to identify any person that pays for 25 percent or more of an ad’s cost.
The group also wants the FCC to force broadcasters to maintain a list of everyone who provides 10 percent or more of the ad’s cost.
Currently, the FCC regulations require advertisements to identify the party who sponsors the message. Broadcasters are also required to retain on file the name of the chief executive officers or directors of the organization sponsoring a political commercial.
Schwartzman said the proposed amendments won’t create additional burden for broadcasters.
FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps has already signaled his support for the tighter rules.
“I welcome the petition received today from Media Access Project,” Copps said. “If some group called “Citizens for Spacious Skies and Amber Waves of Grain’ is actually underwritten by a chemical company that doesn’t want to clean up a toxic dump, viewers, listeners and voters should know this.”