Strong pressure from Democrats has not persuaded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up a controversial proposal that would require some political TV ads to name the major individual donors behind them.
In a letter made public on Tuesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said he understood that 168 House Democrats think he “should go farther” but gave no indication that he is willing to do so during an election year.
The letter was sent earlier this month but made public Tuesday night.
Wheeler has said much of the same for the past year. Rep. John YarmuthJohn YarmuthCBO releases new score for ObamaCare repeal bill Dems wonder: Can GOP even pass a budget? Pelosi: Trump budget a ‘slap in the face’ MORE (D-Ky.), who sponsors legislation on the issue, said he “certainly expected more than this,” referring to the letter as little more than a thank you note.
Currently, FCC rules require super-PACs and other outside groups to include a sponsorship announcement at the beginning or end of a television ad that reveals the group that is funding it. But Democrats want the names of significant donors included on the screen.
Democrats say the current disclosure rules are based on a weak interpretation of the law. They say the sponsorship tags are of no real use to voters, who likely have no idea who is funding groups with generic names like Restore our Future, Priorities USA or Americans for Prosperity.
Wheeler has defended his record on “expanding the public’s access to information about political advertising.”
He pointed to the FCC’s rules that now require the FCC to maintain an online database that includes information about ads run on broadcast TV, radio, cable and satellite.