Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday backed off on their attempt to block a new rule that requires broadcasters to post political ad data online.
“Today, House Republicans reversed their opposition to a step for greater transparency in our politics,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA) said in a statement. “For a brief moment, Republicans saw the light, and as a result, America’s voters will benefit from increased accountability, expanded disclosure, and more access to information about the campaign ads flooding our airwaves.”
The Federal Communications Commission adopted a measure in April that requires broadcasters to provide information about political ad buys — including advertising rates — on the Internet. Previously, the rule only required the records to be available to the public. However, in almost all cases anyone who wanted access to the records had to physically visit the stations, making it difficult for most Americans to obtain the data.
A House Appropriations subcommittee approved the 2013 Financial Services bill earlier this month, which included a provision to block the new FCC rule. Democrats tried to strip the provision from the bill, but lost by a party-line vote.
NBC News, ABC News, Fox News, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Politico, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution had all lobbied against the measure.
“With this small victory, we must keep moving ahead: to promote disclosure; to amend the Constitution and reverse the devastating effects of Supreme Court decisions that put special interests ahead of the public interest; to reform the system and empower the grassroots,” Pelosi added. “We must ensure that the voices of the people determine the outcome of our elections, not the checkbooks of the few. We must build on today’s shift by House Republicans and work together toward a future of openness in our politics.”
[Nancy Pelosi via Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com]