Democrats Hit Roadblock In Fight To End Anonymously Funded Political Ads

| by Ethan Brown
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In another attempt attacking individual funds into political campaigns, Democrats in Congress have supported legislation that would increase political advertisement disclosures for the 2016 presidential and congressional elections.

Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2010 of the Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission case, where the Court said that there cannot be limits to individual donations in elections, Democrats have repeatedly tried to find ways around the ruling.

However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) who oversees all political advertisements on television, the Internet and radio, has shut down any attempt at changing disclosure rules in time for next year’s anticipated and expensive presidential election.

“Maybe you noticed – we have a long list of difficult telecommunications related decisions that we are dealing with right now. And that will be our focus,” Tom Wheeler, the FCC chairman, said on May 26.

Wheeler was referring to new net neutrality legislation that passed Congress earlier this year as one of the organization’s top priorities for the next 12 to 18 months.

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives recently sent a proposal through their chamber discussing the disclosure issue. But Republicans will likely not take it seriously, as the proposal routinely referenced billionaires Charles and David Koch, who have pledged monetary support to the Republican Party in 2016, The Hill reported. Moreover, Democrats went through the House and Energy subcommittee for their proposal, which did not go over well with some Republicans.

“This isn’t the place for it. If you want to do campaign finance reform, there are other committees of jurisdiction,” said Republican Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who is in charge of the House subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

Democrats insisted that the issue was important enough to act on now.

“Clearly we have more work to do in convincing the FCC of the urgency of this situation. The lack of transparency in politics is eroding our democracy, and they have the power to act,” said Democratic Rep. John Yarmuth of Kentucky.

Current rules state that super PACs must disclose sponsors of their advertisements during each time an ad airs. Super PACs that supported Republican candidate Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama in 2012 both adhered to the rules. However, Democrats accused the super PACs of finding loopholes in the legislation.

Sources: The Hill, Broadcasting and Cable / Photo Credit: Screenshot, YouTube