Exclusive – Senate Republicans Accuse FCC of Being ‘De Facto Arm’ of Biden Campaign for Advancing Election-Year AI Advertising Regulations

President Joe Biden takes the stage at a campaign rally at Girard College on May 29, 2024
Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

Senate Republicans on Thursday accused the Democrat majority at the FCC of acting as a “de facto arm” of the Biden campaign for advancing AI regulations during an election year, Breitbart News learned exclusively.

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) led a letter, which was obtained by Breitbart News, with Sens. Eric Schmitt (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mitch McConnell (R-KY), to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel, as the Democrat majority at the agency has moved to regulate artificial intelligence (AI) in political advertising.

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U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

The Senate Republicans said the move raises serious “statutory and constitutional concerns” and that the agency should police political advertising, especially ahead of a contentious presidential election. The lawmakers also made it clear that the proposal would enact onerous regulations on cable companies and broadcasters and not “unregulated” big tech companies.

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 9: U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) speaks during a press conference following the Senate Republican weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on January 9, 2024 in Washington, DC. Senators and Representatives from both parties reached a bi-partisan deal over the holiday break on the 2024 budget but its future is still unclear as it is brought to both chambers of Congress for a vote as the January 19 deadline approaches. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Getty Images)

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) speaks during a press conference following the Senate Republican weekly policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on January 9, 2024, in Washington, DC. (Samuel Corum/Getty Images) 

“Rather than favoring certain political speech and interfering in the election, we urge you to abandon this dangerous proposal that threatens to tip the scales of free speech in our nation,” the Senate Republicans noted.

06.06.24 Letter to Chairwoman Rosenworcel Re. AI and Political Ads by Breitbart News on Scribd

Thune, Schmitt, Cruz, and McConnell are not the only ones concerned about the FCC proposal; they noted the Federal Election Commission (FEC) has raised concerns about the proposal as well.

The Associated Press

Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel speaks from the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington on February 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Sean Cooksey, the chairman of the FEC, wrote to Rosenworcel this week, charging that they are infringing on the FEC’s jurisdiction to regulate election policy.

Cooksey explained:

Congress vested the FEC with the sole authority to interpret, administer, and enforce the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971, as amended. This includes the disclaimer and reporting requirements specific to political communications set out under federal law. Indeed, federal courts of appeals have upheld the FEC’s unique authority to regulate political disclaimers against other agencies’ attempts to circumvent or supplement our rules, concluding that “the FEC is the exclusive administrative arbiter of questions concerning the name identifications and disclaimers” for political communications. Consequently, I maintain that the FCC lacks the legal authority to promulgate conflicting disclaimers requirements only for political communications.

Cooksey also said Rosenworcel’s plan to have the regulations enacted before the 2024 election would cause “confusion and disarray” among political campaigns, and ultimately stifle free speech.

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The FEC chairman wrote, “As a result, your agency would be interfering with and undermining political campaigns and the election. Therefore, if you proceed with all or part of this rulemaking, I urge you and your FCC colleagues to delay the effective date of any new regulations until after November 5, 2024.”

The Republican senators also said that FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr slapping broadcasters and cable companies with the AI regulations, but not big tech companies, would result in a situation where the same ad could have an AI disclosure on television but not on a big tech platform such as Facebook.

Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission Brendan Carr speaks during the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, on February 24, 2024. (Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty)

The lawmakers also said the FCC is acting more like an arm of the Biden campaign than as an independent agency:

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.

“We strongly urge you to reconsider this effort to regulate AI in political advertising,” the Senate Republicans concluded in their letter to Rosenworcel.

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.Rosenworcelbuiden

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