Free Press Action Fund Slams So-Called FCC Reform Bill

FreePress

For Immediate Release

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Jenn Ettinger, 202-265-1490 x 35

Free Press Action Fund Slams So-Called FCC Reform Bill

Praises efforts by Reps. Eshoo and Waters to promote transparency and stop the FCC's revolving door

WASHINGTON - On Monday, several members of Congress proposed amendments to the so-called FCC Reform Act (H.R. 3309) that is moving through the House of Representatives. All amendments are subject to the House Rules Committee’s approval to determine if they will be attached to the bill. Decisions on the amendments are expected to be made by 5 p.m. today. If approved, the amendments and the larger bill will then be debated and voted on by the full House.

An amendment offered by Rep. Anna Eshoo would require entities purchasing political ads on broadcast television to disclose the names of funders who give them more than $10,000. Broadcasters that run such ads would need to place a list of those funders in their stations' public files.

Amendments offered by Rep. Maxine Waters would help limit revolving-door politics at the FCC. They would require more transparency in Astroturf lobbying by mandating better disclosure of funding sources for comments and filings submitted to the Federal Communications Commission. The Waters amendments would also impose a one-year waiting period to prevent FCC officials from jumping directly to jobs with the companies they regulate, and would preserve the agency's ability to craft public interest conditions for mergers subject to FCC review.

Free Press Action Fund Policy Adviser Joel Kelsey made the following statement.

"As written, this so-called FCC reform bill is a misguided effort that puts the emphasis on protecting corporations rather than consumers. The amendments proposed by Representatives Eshoo and Waters help put the focus back where it belongs, on the public. However, the underlying legislation would still create irreversible long-term harm and tie the hands of a federal agency charged with overseeing an increasingly consolidated telecommunications industry.

"Representative Waters' amendments would help limit the influence companies wield at the FCC when they hire front groups to make their arguments, or entice former public servants with jobs as lobbyists for the companies they used to regulate. Representative Eshoo’s amendment would shine a light on who's really behind the front groups buying political advertising time on the public airwaves. These are all worthy efforts to increase transparency and give the public a fuller picture of who is trying to persuade them."

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net

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