Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How The FCC Could Counter Citizens United

It is well known that since the Supreme Court of the United States' ruling in Citizens United, the corporations have been pouring money into almost every election in order to buy control of every corner of our country.

That is ever so apparent in the way Scott Walker and the Republicans are kowtowing to the likes of the Koch Brothers, the Bradley Foundation and anyone else with enough cash to buy their votes.

But this could all be stopped within 90 short days.

All it would take is for the Federal Communications Commission to develop a spine.

I say this based on this article written by Michael J. Copps, a former FCC Commissioner.  In said article, Copps points out how easy it would be for the FCC to expose this corruption, if they just had the gumption to do their jobs by enforcing a law that they've allowed to lay dormant for more than 20 years:
Fortunately, one major reform can be implemented immediately, without legislative action or a court order. All we need is for an independent agency, the Federal Communications Commission, to enforce a campaign finance disclosure requirement that is already on the books.

Section 317 of the Communications Act (47 USC § 317) requires on-air identification of the sponsors of all advertisements, political as well as commercial. Explaining the rules it wrote to implement the statute, the FCC stipulated years ago that political ads must “fully and fairly disclose the true identity of the person or persons, or corporation, committee, association or other unincorporated group, or other entity” paying for them. “Listeners are entitled to know by whom they are being persuaded,” the commission said.

“True identity” means just what it says. If a special interest group calling itself Citizens for Purple Mountain Majesties and Amber Waves of Grain is a front for a chemical company refusing to clean up a toxic dump or an energy company looking to buy friendships on Capitol Hill, the law says we as citizens need to know that.
As Copps correctly states, the special interests would scream bloody murder about anyone trying to do this.

But Copps also points out that the Citizens United ruling also supports the FCC's right and obligation to enforce this law:
More potentially good news: campaign finance reform may have an unlikely ally. Hidden away in the Supreme Court’s otherwise outrageous Citizens United decision, the source of so much damage to our political system, is this sentence, in effect backed by eight of the nine justices: “Disclosure is the less-restrictive alternative to more comprehensive speech regulations.” If the High Court itself is talking disclosure, isn’t it time to get on with the job?
Wouldn't that be something to see?!

I would love to see it in effect now.

I don't imagine that Patience Roggensack would have even survived the primary if all the ads running on her behalf had to have the disclosure that they were being paid for by groups like the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce or some other right wing group looking to keep the majority of the state supreme court under their thumb.

And don't think for a minute she doesn't know this as well. Why else would she have tried to conceal the $20,000 she got from all of the out of state school profiteers?


  1. capper, you posting pipe-dream stuff again. Ask Media Action Center/Sue Wilson what type of integrity FCC has?

    There's a reason we have 24/7 pro walker propaganda blasted across the state 24/7 and that scott walker (who stole recall) got hundreds of thousands of dollars of free airtime during recall cycle.

    FCC is staffed by union-protected hacks that do nothing -- but we must support dysfunctional government workers out of solidarity, right?

    Please don't make me laught by posting something like this -- your doing much more than reaching and it may make someone wonder if your walkergate stuff is fantasy too.

    After all, no one else from the WALKER/bush family has been held accountable for much larger crimes against our nation and the world.

    You write great stuff sometimes -- why this stuff from la-la land?

  2. Anony, you're such an anonymous concern troll. Where are your special interests and where's your disclosure?

    One might as well argue that the spineless FCC is in the pockets of big telecom and big media.