A House appropriations bill passed out of subcommittee Wednesday that would defund the FCC's effort to put broadcaster political files online.
The FCC voted in April to require TV stations in the top markets to send the FCC their political files for online posting. Those files contain data on political ad buys, including prices.
The FCC is looking to launch that effort, which broadcasters opposed, during this campaign cycle, but language in the bill that was voted out of the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee committee Wednesday, according to a spokesperson for the committee chairman, would block that rule.
"It's clear that the broadcast industry is pulling out all the stops to bury information about political ad spending on the public airwaves," said Free Press Senior Policy Counsel Corie Wright. "What's more appalling is that some elected officials are willing to help them do it."
According to a draft of the bill, here is the language in the provision:
"SEC. 631. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used to implement, administer, or enforce the Second Report and Order adopted by Second Report and Order adopted by the Federal Communications Commission on April 27, 2012 (FCC 12-44), insofar as such Second Report and Order relates to making available on the Commission's website of the political file of a television station licensee or applicant."
A source familiar with the provision identified the provision's backer as Financial Services Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.). Emerson spokesman Jeffrey Connor confirmed the language was hers.
In a March hearing in the subcommittee on the appropriations bill and the FCC's budget, Emerson pressed FCC chairman Julius Genachowski on why the FCC was spending time on the political file issue when it had other things, like Universal Service Reform and spectrum auctions to deal with.