CBS and News Corp.’s Fox are among broadcasters fighting a plan to post names of campaign-ad buyers and purchase prices on the Web as record election spending raises concerns over anonymous political contributions. The information is maintained in desk drawers and filing cabinets at television stations, and the Federal Communications Commission wants to bring the data to a Web site the agency would run. The proposal would “impose significant new administrative burdens,” CBS and Fox stations told the agency Jan. 17 in comments joined by Comcast’s NBC stations and Walt Disney Co.’s ABC. The National Association of Broadcasters told the FCC recently that the agency lacks power to make the change.
A Supreme Court decision in 2010 allowed unlimited spending by corporations and labor organizations. The ruling helped clear the way for super-PACs, political action committees that spend independently of candidates.
“We desperately need openness,”’ Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), said March 6 at a meeting of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “We’ve got a bunch of billionaires and millionaires who are pouring millions of dollars into the elections of this country, and to these super-PACs, with nobody having the vaguest idea of who they are, what they’re up to, what they want or what would be the consequences of it.’’