Former House Energy & Commerce Committee
Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) says that the FCC's proposal to put TV station
political files online could be misleading, lead to more campaign spending, and
would not lead to equitable or uniform disclosures.
was joined in that sentiment by Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas). Together they wrote
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski a letter asking for some clarification on the
proposal, particularly why the FCC decided to put TV station political files
online but not those of cable operators or radio stations.
Green and Dingell said they supported commission efforts to improve disclosure
requirements for candidates' political ad purchases and greater transparency in
the political system, but were curious about the seemingly disparate treatment.
letter followed a hearing Monday in a House Appropriations subcommittee at
which FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said that there were no plans to extend
the requirement beyond TV stations.
the questions the legislators want answered -- by March 30 -- are 1) whether
the FCC has considered that disclosure by only TV stations might give the
public a misleading impression of political ad spend; 2) why it isn't planning
to ask cable operators or others to provide the same online information; 3) why
it singled out TV broadcasters; 4) what public good is served by the partial
disclosure, 5) whether the FCC thinks making the information readily searchable
will stimulate campaign spending, "when the public and many in Congress
believe such spending has gotten out of control; and 5) whether the FCC has the
resources to aggregate and administrate the database -- they point to reports
the FCC has had trouble coping with data uploads in the past.