Disclosure of the people and organizations behind political advertising is the turf of the Federal Election Commission, or so you would think, but the Federal Communications Commission has been called upon to enter the fray; and the Securities and Exchange Commission is considering getting into the act.
The SEC is strictly concerned about the political advertising expenditures of publicly-traded corporations. The thinking is that shareholders have a right to know what the companies they have an interest in are doing in this area.
According to The Hill, SEC has received some 500,000 comments on the topic, mostly in favor of disclosure requirements.
Opponents believe that the proceeding is being egged on by a handful of activist groups.
The fact that the proceeding is in progress is laid at the doorstep of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allowed a great deal more cash to flow into the election process from non-candidate sources. Ever since then, many have been looking for other ways to rein in spending.
The FCC has been called on to use its rules on sponsor identification to unmask anonymous donors of money directed to political advertising flights.
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s not surprising other government agencies are getting into the act. There is no more useless government agency than FEC. It oversees the most political area of government that exists, and because of that, it has an even-numbered set of commissioners, with parity between Democrats and Republicans no matter which party controls the White House.
The result is a perpetual tie when anything even remotely sensitive or important comes to a vote. In the polarized atmosphere of 2013 Washington, the FEC is hamstrung and impotent.