Political Ads — March 31, 2012 at 8:57 am

Federal judge throws out FEC ruling that shields funders of political attack ads


Sunshine on elections makes me happy…

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has thrown out a 2007 FEC ruling that allowed some funders of political ads to remain anonymous, striking a blow for transparency and sterilizing sunlight on at least some of the political attack ads we see ad nauseum during election Silly Season.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington ruled that the Federal Election Commission went beyond its power in 2007 when it ruled that corporations and nonprofits didn’t have to reveal the identities of those who financed certain election ads, AP reported. The ruling can be seen here.

The FEC’s 2007 rule came as a result of a Supreme Court ruling that gave more latitude to nonprofit groups, like Crossroads GPS or Priorities USA, in financing pre-election ads. The ruling last week could lead to requiring groups that spend money on ads that don’t expressly advocate for or against a particular candidate to reveal their donors, according to AP.

In Jackson’s ruling, she said the FEC didn’t have the authority to change the McCain-Feingold Act and held it was the responsibility of Congress to make those changes.

It’s a big step in the right direction. Now it’s time for groups like Move to Amend to charge forward to push for a constitutional amendment declaring that businesses and corporations are NOT people with the same free speech rights as American humans have. I’d like a slice of transparency in robocalls, too, thank you very much.

[CC image credit: rishibando | Flickr]