The Federal Communications Commission’s Media Bureau has announced the creation of the Electioneering Communications Database which was created in response to the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 and sections of the Federal Election Commission’s Rules.
With the help of the database, journalists can determine whether communications sent via TV or radio, cable system or satellite delivery had the potential to reach 50,000 or more people in any given Congressional district or state.
If so, the communication may qualify as an “electioneering communication,” as defined in Section 304 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971. That act requires anyone spending more than $10,000 on electioneering communication, not including communication purchased by a candidate, during a calendar year file a statement with the Federal Election Commission with information about the communication. Additionally, the act prohibits certain entities from paying for electioneering communications.
Information in the database is current as of November 2003 and will not be changed until after the conclusion of the current election cycle this November. If the database indicates 50,000 or more people in a district or state cannot receive a communication, “such information shall be a complete defense” against charges that the communication constituted electioneering, according to the act.
Journalist or others wishing to determine whether a communication may be considered electioneering communications can access the FCC Electioneering Communications Database at: http://gullfoss2.fcc.gov/ecd/, or alternately: http://svartifoss2.fcc.gov/ecd/.
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