Interest group fears Disclose Act could eliminate 30-second spots


The time it would take to identify the group putting out a political ad along with the source of the funding for the ad would eat up half of a half-minute spot, according to a US Chamber of Commerce estimate – forcing it to spend extra for 60-seconds to get its full message out.

According to an article in, the Chamber figures the typical “I approved” tagline on a politician’s spot eats up about five seconds, still leaving plenty of time for the body of the advertisement. But the additional disclosures that may be required from interest groups would eat up additional time.

They cited the need for disclaimers on prescription drug advertising, which tend to up space in print ads and time in broadcast ads.

TheHill says that Democratic media strategists privately expressed their distaste for disclaimers in general, not surprising since they have to work them into their own messaging – but they also expressed their understanding of the importance of identifying the true source of a message.

Further, one of the main thrusts of disclosure is making it impossible for a source to put its message forward under the cloak of anonymity – if somebody is going to say it, they have to stand up and take responsibility. Many corporations do not want to attach themselves publicly to one side or the other of a controversial issue or a close political race.

However, it is also expected that the bill, which has made it through the House, will stall in the Senate. A full legislative calendar is running head-first into both the summer recess doldrums and election season, and most doubt that the bill could be passed swiftly enough to have an impact this year, even if the votes to pass it can be found – and that is not a certainty either.