June 7, 2024

Senator Schmitt Joins Senators Thune, McConnell, and Cruz in Letter Regarding FCC Proposal to Regulate Political Speech

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has no authority to police the content of political advertising and any attempt to do so raises serious statutory and constitutional concerns.”

WASHINGTON — Recently, Senator Eric Schmitt along with Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) urged Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to immediately abandon her unlawful proposal that infringes on free political speech. In their letter, the senators note that the FCC does not have broad authority over political advertising and that this misguided proposal would place unreasonable burdens on local broadcasters and cable companies:

“Lacking any statutory authority for the proposal under the BCRA, the FCC alternatively claims it has an amorphous public interest obligation to ‘protect the public from false, misleading, or deceptive programming and to promote an informed public.’ This falsely suggests that the FCC has broad authority to act as an arbiter of true and false speech,” wrote the senators. “The FCC’s role should remain within the confines of its designated responsibility: ensuring basic recordkeeping requirements without encroaching on the content of political discourse or favoring one type of political advertising over another.” 

“Finally, Congress conferred independence on the FCC so that it would be free from the control exercised by the president over the Executive Branch. And independent agencies were certainly never meant to serve as instruments for advancing the agendas of presidential campaigns or national committees. The proposal you are advancing aligns closely with the broader agenda advocated by the Democrat National Committee, which urged the FEC to introduce sweeping regulations governing AI-generated political speech before the 2024 elections. It is unfortunate that the FCC is behaving less like an independent commission accountable to Congress, and more as a de facto arm of the Biden campaign.” Concludes the letter.


Read the full letter here.