Democratic senators back FCC rule that could shed light on campaign ads

Eight Democratic senators have given their "full support" to a proposed Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule that could force more disclosure regarding political ads.

In a letter sent Wednesday to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the senators said they support the proposal that would have television broadcasters post online their files that detail information on who is paying for ads.

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"We want to express our full support of the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed rule to have broadcast stations make political files publicly available online and we urge you to implement these proposed rule changes as soon as possible. With campaign season in full swing and new Super PACs springing up weekly, the public must have access to information about who is funding these ads," the letter says.

The letter was signed by Sens. Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyWATCH LIVE: Senate Dems hold ‘People’s Filibuster’ against ObamaCare repeal Merkley: Trump 'absolutely' tried to intimidate Comey Overnight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief MORE (D-Ore.), Al FrankenAl FrankenOvernight Energy: EPA moves to repeal Obama water rule GOP senator calls for tight scrutiny on AT&T's proposed Time Warner merger Howard Stern: I have a 'man crush' on Al Franken MORE (D-Minn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseGraham gets frustrated in public ‘unmasking’ debate Senate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference Judiciary Committee to continue Russia probe after Mueller meeting MORE (D-R.I.), Michael BennetMichael BennetDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Trump welcomes Gorsuch on first Supreme Court visit Why higher education is in need of regulatory relief MORE (D-Colo.), Mark BegichMark BegichPerez creates advisory team for DNC transition The future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map MORE (D-Alaska), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Jon TesterJon TesterOvernight Regulation: Labor groups fear rollback of Obama worker protection rule | Trump regs czar advances in Senate | New FCC enforcement chief Trump's 'regulatory czar' advances in Senate Gianforte causes stir after becoming newest House member MORE (D-MT) and Tom UdallTom UdallOvernight Finance: GOP divided over welfare cuts in budget | Lawmaker loses M on pharma stock he pitched | Yellen says another financial crisis unlikely in our lifetimes Overnight Regulation: EPA moves to repeal Obama water rule | Labor chief to review overtime rule | Record fine for Google EPA head faces skeptical senators on budget cuts MORE (D-N.M.).

Broadcasters currently have to make these files available to the public, but only in paper form. Under the proposed rule, the files would be hosted on a FCC-run website.

"The information in these files should be available in an online, searchable database, and disclosures should include information about the people and organizations that purchase political advertisements," the letter says.

The National Association of Broadcasters has said the proposed rule would be too burdensome for TV stations to comply with. Watchdog groups have backed the rule because it would provide more information about political ads during campaign season.

The proposed rule is might not reveal new information about who is funding political ads because the ad sponsor's name may not disclose all of its backers.