FEC offers no relief from redundant disclaimer requirements that drive up cost of citizen speech

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) rejected today a request to exempt brief television advertisements from spoken portions of the "stand by your ad" disclaimer requirements mandated by federal election law.

The Club for Growth had asked whether or not it could be exempt from the full-spoken disclaimer for 10 and 15 second television advertisements it planned to air during the 2008 election cycle.  The advertisements would include two written "stand by your ad" disclaimers.

The Club argued that the spoken disclaimers take up approximately 24 percent of the available time in a 15 second advertisement and 31 percent in a 10 second advertisement.

"The redundant ‘stand by your ad’ requirements needlessly reduce the amount of time that citizen groups can spend communicating with their fellow citizens," said Sean Parnell, president of the Center for Competitive Politics.  "Instead of substantive political messages like ‘no taxation without representation’ citizens are left to hear that the organization paying for the ad, in fact, approves of it."

Federal code allows the FEC to make exceptions to the disclaimer requirements if, "the inclusion of a disclaimer would be impracticable."

"There should be little doubt that forcing groups to spend one-third of their advertising budget on government disclaimers is impracticable," Parnell reasoned.  "The disclaimer requirement simply raises the cost of advertising."

The Center for Competitive Politics is now the Institute for Free Speech.