political advertising

Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission’s Enforcement Bureau issued an advisory reminding political campaigns about the restrictions placed on the use of autodialed calls, prerecorded calls, and text messages by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”) and the FCC’s corresponding rules.  The Enforcement Bureau warns that it is “closely monitoring this space” and will “rigorously enforce

A federal appeals court will rehear a case in which a split three-judge panel ruled it was unconstitutional to prohibit non-commercial broadcast stations from selling political advertisements.

A federal statute, 47 U.S.C. § 399b, generally prohibits public broadcasters from airing “advertisements,” which the statute defines to include paid messages that (1) promote a for-profit entity’s

The Federal Communications Commission has announced the addition of several new features to its online public inspection file system for TV broadcasters. The new features allow stations to upload documents such as Annual EEO Public File Reports, lists of ownership-related contracts and agreements, and supplemental materials related to applications, authorizations, and EEO investigations.

The FCC’s rules require TV stations to maintain these documents in their public files, but when the online public file system launched on August 2, stations weren’t able to upload these documents. That is because several sections of the online public file system — including the Application, Authorization, Ownership and EEO pages of each station’s file — were designed so that they could only draw documents from the FCC’s electronic CDBS filing system. Previously, there was no way for stations to place any documents in these sections that were not filed through CDBS. 
Continue Reading FCC Updates Online Public File System for TV Broadcasters

 After a hiatus, ads that refer to federal candidates but that stop short of calling for their election or defeat may soon be returning to the airwaves. Only two business days after oral argument, a three-judge D.C. Circuit panel today unanimously reversed a lower court decision that required issue advocacy groups that paid for an “electioneering communication” to disclose all of their donors since January of last year. An “electioneering communication” is a broadcast ad that refers to a clearly identified federal candidate and that airs shortly before an election where the candidate is running. Electioneering communications do not contain the usual appeals to vote for or against specific candidates that campaign ads do. For a variety of reasons, these ads are sometimes preferred over express advocacy ads, particularly by tax-exempt organizations. The opinion comes despite a different D.C. Circuit panel earlier deciding not to stay enforcement of the lower court decision.
Continue Reading Reversing Van Hollen, D.C. Circuit Removes Important Legal Barrier to Television and Radio Political Ads