Revolution Messaging blasted the Democratic commissioners on the FEC Thursday after they voted against lifting a federal requirement for mobile advertising disclaimers.
The Democratic mobile advertising firm, which employs many Obama campaign alumni, had asked the Commission to treat cellphone ads the same as bumper stickers or campaign buttons and make them exempt from federal disclaimer requirements. In opposition, they had groups such the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 — both nonpartisan, nonprofits — who this week urged the FEC to uphold the disclaimer requirements. At a meeting Thursday, the Commission voted 3-3 on the issue making it “unable to render an opinion by the required four affirmative votes.”
That drew an angry rebuke from Keegan Goudiss, Revolution Messaging’s head of digital advertising.
“The Democratic FEC commissioners have no sense of the technology available to today’s political campaigns,” Goudiss, who previously worked for the DCCC, said in a statement. “They are employing 20th century logic to 21st century campaigns.”
He continued: “Commissioners misled us after our initial hearing where they said there could be a compromise by way of a shortened disclaimer. While Republican commissioners felt there was no need for a disclaimer whatsoever, they were willing to settle on an alternative which would achieve the same purpose. Unfortunately, Democratic Commissioners changed their minds and rejected that approach, apparently at the last minute.”
The Democratic members of the FEC, Goudiss said, “spent more time today debating the practicality of a 30 year old ruling on small-items exemptions, and whether it applied to today’s world, rather then address a way a shortened disclaimer could allow for an expanded use of mobile advertising by those with smaller budgets.”
He called the FEC’s approach “disappointing, shortsighted and a transparency killer.”
“Those that already bend the rules will continue to do so, while those committed to transparency with fewer resources will be unable to take full advantage of mobile technology,” Goudiss stated.
The company said Thursday’s ruling would “make it impossible for political campaigners, including ones fully committed to transparency, to advertise widely on handheld devices.”
Meanwhile, the FEC also declined to act on the Solano County Democratic Central Committee’s request to use unreported funds remaining in the federal account of its predecessor committee.