The Federal Election Commission is deadlocked on whether to exempt mobile ads from the disclaimers that appear by law on political messaging — throwing a wrench in the plans of a left-leaning communications firm and pitting its strategists against the FEC’s Democratic appointees. The firm in question is Revolution Messaging, whose clients include MoveOn.org, Organizing for America and various Democratic committees. Last fall, Revolution asked the FEC for permission to eliminate disclaimers from its digital banner ads, arguing that the small screens on mobile devices made it impractical to include the legalese. Republican officials sided with Revolution, saying that a disclaimer was unnecessary; Democratic commissioners disagreed.
A second, softer proposal had Revolution committing to shortened disclaimers. According to head of digital advertising Keegan Goudiss, “a couple of Democratic commissioners seemed open” to the idea. But on Thursday, those officials voted against it, resulting in an inconclusive 3-3 split on the panel. (Four votes are required to approve a measure.)
“Mobile phone advertisements, which may be disseminated on a national scale to voters, are clearly general public political advertising and do not warrant special exemption from disclaimer requirement,” several of the commissioners wrote in a statement.