In response to Citizens United the FCC adopted a new rule that required TV broadcasters to put political advertising disclosure documents online, so that they would be available for public inspection. This new rule would have allowed anybody to see who is paying for the political advertising that they are watching. Currently, the only way to view the disclosure documents is by making a written request to each television station, then going to the station to read the disclosure forms.
The push to kill the new rule came from the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB). The NAB members are set to make billions of dollars off of Citizens United fueled spending, so they fought back by dumping tens of millions of dollars into lobbying and campaign contributions. Their plan worked. On June 5th, the Republican majority on the House Appropriations Committee added a rider to the bill that blocked the FCC from implementing the new rule.
Democrats were outraged after the rule was blocked. Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) said, “It is obvious what this is all about and it is embarrassing, frankly…It looks like you are trying to cover up the fact that these fat cats are coming into these elections and they don’t want their names known.”
The ranking member of the committee Rep. José Serrano (D-NY) took on the argument that it would be too expensive to put the information online. He said, “This information is already available in paper format, and it is entirely reasonable to make it accessible online, especially when there is little actual cost to doing so.”
On Wednesday, Democrats are going to get another chance to fight back against Citizens United. The Financial Services Appropriations bill will be going before the full appropriations committee for markup. Democrats will again try to strip the language blocking the disclosure rule from the legislation.
When intellectually lazy people claim that both parties are the same, don’t buy it.
One party is fighting to protect Citizens United (Republicans) while the other is fighting to dismantle it (Democrats). Because they don’t want you to know how much money they are making off Citizens United, this is a story that you won’t see on cable news. The media has a financial stake in making sure that Citizens United remains strong.
Our media has gone from protecting freedom to corrupting it, and they aren’t going to risk billions in profits by admitting to their viewers that they are selling out their liberties one thirty second ad at a time.
The media won’t talk about it, and most Americans are oblivious to it. On Wednesday another step in the battle to undo Citizens United will be contested, and Republicans and the media that stands to make billions really hope that you aren’t paying attention.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association