FCC taken to task on sponsor ID policy


Michael CoppsPublic watchdog Common Cause believes that the FCC did not live up to its mission in its refusal to act on petitions alleging that a pair of television stations allowed political ads to run without proper sponsor identification.

The stations are WJLA in Washington DC and KGW in Portland OR. The petitioners, Campaign Legal Center, Common Cause, and Sunlight Foundation, named Tom Steyer as the true sponsor of an ad on WJLA, and Sean Fieler as the true sponsor of an ad on KGW.

The FCC’s Robert L. Baker said, “We conclude that the complaints do not provide a sufficient showing that the stations had credible evidence casting into doubt that the identified sponsors of the advertisement were the true sponsors.”

Common Cause special advisor and former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps fired back at the FCC. Copps said, “It’s one thing that congressional gridlock precludes passage of laws to right the many wrongs our special interest political culture faces. It’s quite another, and infinitely worse, to ignore laws already on the books that enable us to tackle these problems. What a crying shame! Where is the full Commission on this?”