Campaign finance bill on the way


In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, Democrats are crafting legislation to restore curbs on corporate political spending.
One remedy would involve “reasonable access to television time” for candidates under corporate attack.

Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is spear-heading the effort in the Senate, and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) is leading the effort in the House.

The twosome say the bill is being narrowly tailored to encourage bipartisan support, but so far there is no evidence that any Republicans are going to bite on any kind of Citizens United reactionary legislation.

The bill is expected to ban political advertising from companies with significant foreign ownership, and for companies who still owe the US government money due to receiving assistance under TARP. The same would go to corporations that are government contractors.

It will also strengthen disclosure requirements for corporations, unions and non-profits, including funding sent to third-party organizations. And it will require CEOs to append stand by your ad messages to any political ads as candidates are now required to do. Expenditures would also have to be disclosed to an entity’s board of directors, and the possibility of requiring director approval is said to be under consideration.

It is also expected to require air time for any candidate who is opposed by the entity. As Politico put it, “…it would attempt to guarantee access to less expensive air time for candidates being bombarded by corporate funded attack ads.”

RBR-TVBR observation: Here’s the good news – nobody seems to be talking about free air time for politicians – although it’s always only a matter of time before somebody brings that up, regardless of the contemporary political situation. But if an equal time provision makes it through, get ready for a huge bookkeeping mess, not to mention major migraines for your traffic managers.