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Blogger, Politicians, and Disclosure

I read a really interesting article in the Chicago Tribune yesterday.  It was about who pays for campaign ads.

Now, as a blogger, if I receive a free item or payment for something I write, I must disclose it per the FCC.  That way, people know who sent the item even though I write impartial reviews anyway.  Whatever.  I do it, because I have to.  I happen to think my average reader is pretty smart, and this is completely unnecessary.  But whatever.

However, what gets my goat is that the identity of who is paying for all the nasty election ads is shrouded in secrecy.  You have no idea who is paying for these ads.  Business groups, unions, and interest groups had spent $264 million as of Tuesday.  You heard me right — $264  million!  At least $128 million of that came from groups that are not required to disclose their donors.  According to election law experts, loopholes and lax enforcement by the FEC, corporation and wealthy donors can donate huge sums confident that their identities will not be disclosed.

Now, why did this happen.  Well, the Supreme Court ruled that Americans would know who was paying for these ads.  Really?  They can’t figure out if a post on a blog is sponsored but they can figure out who is paying for election ads?

Am I the only one confused?

Reader Interactions


  1. Fail! The Supreme Court doesn't live in reality I guess. When you see the names of the groups running these ads there's no way of knowing who is paying for them. This also means that I as a consumer won't know if a store or brand such as Target pays for ads for homophobic politicians so I know where to spend my money.

  2. I don't have an issue with individual contributors being kept private, but large corporations, especially those that are public, should be required to disclose.

  3. I guess you have to give credit to George Soros for openly donating $1,800,000 to NPR to fund the hiring of additional reporters.

    If he's going to influence American taxpayer-funded media, at least he did it out in the open.

    $1.8Mil + Juan Williams' salary should buy them a busload of recent NYU grads.

  4. I don't think it is fair that we as bloggers have to disclose what we do, but politicians that actually create laws we all have to follow do not. They should have to say exactly who paid for the ad, even if it is just a John doe from Tennessee who contributed a $1.

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