Schumer Discloses New Version Of DISCLOSE Act

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Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has introduced a new version of the DISCLOSE Act, according to a copy of the bill, which requires a raft of on-screen or on-air disclosures on radio and TV campaign ads identifying what groups or individuals are funding them.

The bill, a version of which has already passed the House, was a response to the Supreme Court ruling last September that lifted the limits, but retained disclosure requirements, on direct funding by corporations and unions of electioneering communications (ads supporting or opposing the election of a candidate) in the run-up to federal elections and primaries.

The legislation is written so that the disclosures, which some broadcasters have argued could take up all of a 15-second spot and most of a 30, would not apply if the commercial is so short that it would "constitute a hardship to the person paying for the communication by requiring a disproportionate amount of the communications content to consist of the [disclaimer]."

The bill is also written so that the new requirements will apply immediately upon passage, whether or not the Federal Election Commission has produced regulations to implement it (which would be hard to do before it passes).

That's so the disclosures will apply to campaign ads for the mid-term elections.

The Senate could act on the bill as early as next week.

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