House Panel Now OKs FCC TV Political Data Rule

In a change of direction, the House Appropriations Committee today voted unanimously to now allow the FCC’s rule on putting political ad data online to stand. As a part of today’s new amendment, the General Accountability Office will be required to conduct a review of the FCC’s rule. Just two weeks ago, the Financial Services and General Government subcommittee of the House panel added an amendment to the Federal Communications Commissions appropriations bill that blocked any funds for the implementation of the new rule. “This Committee is unsure as to why the FCC is stepping into an issue which is clearly not their area of expertise,” said the subcommittee in early June. The FCC’s rule, announced in April, would require the top 200 network affiliates to provide information about political ad buys to the Commission to put up online. The rest of the TV stations around the country would be expected to provide the same information in the next two years. This data is already available on paper for anyone who wants to take the time to see it. Today Subcommittee Chair Rep. Jo Ann Emerson struck down her own amendment and put forward the successful substitute that would now let funding for the FCC’s rule go forward with the GAO study of the rule’s impact over the next few months. The rule, which will now cover this year’s election, still has to be approved by the administration’s Office of Management and Budget in the next few weeks. Today’s new amendment was part of the Committee’s approval of the $21.15 billion 2013 Financial Services and General Appropriations bill.

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