By now it seems pretty clear that Sen. Ted Cruz has a plan to occupy the White House. But he doesn’t want people to know too much about it.
And he definitely doesn’t want you to know about the special interests that have already begun to bankroll his political ambitions.
That’s why the Texas senator’s latest crusade targets the Federal Communications Commission — and its efforts to better identify the funders of political ads.
Cruz has placed a hold on the Senate confirmation of Tom Wheeler to head the agency, despite bipartisan agreement to vote on Wheeler without delay. Cruz wants assurances from Wheeler that the FCC won’t follow the law and require disclosure of the real funders for dark-money political groups that clog the airwaves with negative and misleading ads.
These nominally independent 501(c)4 groups plowed millions of dollars into the 2012 elections, and there’s every indication they’ll be back in even greater numbers in 2014.
And while the Federal Elections Commission has a limited ability to identify the funders of the groups that emerged in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, the FCC has a clear legal path to transparency.
Broadcasters are obliged by law to disclose who pays for political ads in exchange for using the airwaves. It’s a public interest bargain stretching back almost a century, and one that forms the foundation of U.S. communications law.
Free Press and our allies won a major victory in 2012 when the FCC ordered all television stations to post this information to an online database the agency manages. In the past, you could find this information only by visiting each station, a time-consuming process that uncooperative receptionists, steep photocopying fees and incomplete and unwieldy paper files made even more complicated.
Now you can go to a single website and find important data on who is spending how much on political ads at major stations in the nation’s 50 largest television markets. (The FCC plans to include political file data from stations in all 210 U.S. broadcasts markets by 2014.)
Read the rest at the Huff Po