Commissioner Carr Opposes Regulating AI on Political Advertising  

By Jason Lee

Commissioner Brendan Carr has announced his opposition to the FCC’s proposal to mandate the disclosure of AI use for content in political ads on television and radio.  

Chairwoman Rosenworcel unveiled the proposal on Wednesday. This as the Associated Press  reports, “Nervous about falling behind the GOP, Democrats are wrestling with how to use AI.”  

Under the proposed rulemaking, disclosure will apply to candidates and issued advocacy. If  adopted, the rule would require political advertisers on broadcast television, cable, and radio to disclose the use of AI-generated content in their ads except online ads and streaming services. 

“As artificial intelligence tools become more accessible, the Commission wants to make sure consumers are fully informed when the technology is used,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel in the FCC’s press release. “Today, I’ve shared with my colleagues a proposal that makes clear consumers have a right to know when AI tools are being used in the political ads they see, and I hope they swiftly act on this issue.” 

Commissioner Carr disagrees. He gave his reasoning in a statement that he released on Thursday:  

I am also concerned that it is part and parcel of a broader effort to control political speech. Is the government really worried that voters will find these ads misleading in the absence of a regulator’s guiding hand? Or is the government worried that voters might find these ads effective? Imagine going after President Lyndon Johnson for his 1964 ‘Daisy Girl’ ad because voters might think that the child actually died in a nuclear strike.

He added: “The type of government intervention envisioned by this plan would only do more harm than good.” 

In Carr’s perspective, the Democratic majority FCC is trying to impose government control on political speech on election communications. Federal Bureaucrats have been exposed by the House Judiciary Committee led by Congressman Jim Jordan on how Biden’s white house has censored speech on social media.  

Still, the proposal can open a threat to donor privacy and may be unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled in the case of NAACP V. Alabama in 1958 that:

The NAACP was not required to release its membership list to the state because of the danger to which losing their anonymity would expose the members. Their First and Fourteenth Amendment right to freedom of association furthermore trumped state law, and revealing the names could be expected to interfere with that right. While the state may have had an interest in gaining access to the names, this was not sufficient to counterbalance constitutional protections.

Carr’s opposition to these measures comes as a suite of AI and elections-related bills passed out of the Senate Rules Committee on a party-line vote two weeks ago.