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 MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate passes 6B defense bill Amnesty International rips family separation policy: 'This is nothing short of torture' Merkley leads Dem lawmakers to border amid migrant policy outcry MORE (D-Ore.), Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenRichard Painter puts out 'dumpster fire' in first campaign ad Bill Clinton says 'norms have changed' in society for what 'you can do to somebody against their will' The Hill's Morning Report — Trump: `A very great moment in the history of the world’ MORE (D-Minn.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLive coverage: FBI chief, Justice IG testify on critical report GAO to look into Trump's reduction of carbon social costs Overnight Energy: Pruitt used security detail to run errands | Dems want probe into Pruitt's Chick-fil-A dealings | Yellowstone superintendent says he was forced out MORE (D-R.I.), Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetOvernight Finance: Trump wants Russia back in G-7 | Senators, allies push back | House approves first fiscal 2019 spending bills | Dems want insider trading probe over job tweet Dems want insider trading probe after Trump jobs report tweet Clinton on his reading habits: 'I like a fast ride' MORE (D-Colo.), Mark BegichMark Peter BegichFormer Alaska senator jumps into governor race Overnight Energy: Trump directs Perry to stop coal plant closures | EPA spent ,560 on customized pens | EPA viewed postcard to Pruitt as a threat Perez creates advisory team for DNC transition MORE (D-Alaska), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterManchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families Trump signs VA reform bill without Democratic co-author The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Primary results give both parties hopes for November MORE (D-MT) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release Senate committee targets Pruitt scandals in spending bill Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets 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.