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SunlightKNXV-HMPac

SunlightKNXV-HMPac

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Published by arizonaspolitics
Complaint, 5/1/14
Complaint, 5/1/14

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Published by: arizonaspolitics on May 01, 2014
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05/05/2014

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1
Before the 
 
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Washington, DC 20554
 Complaint of Campaign Legal Center and Sunlight Foundation Against Scripps Media, Inc., licensee of KNXV-TV, Phoenix, AZ For Violations of the Communications Act § 315 and FCC Regulation § 73.1212
) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) ) )
To: Enforcement Bureau
COMPLAINT
The Campaign Legal Center and the Sunlight Foundation file this complaint regarding violations of the Communications Act and the Federal Communications
Commission’s
 
(“
FCC
”)
regulations by Scripps Media, Inc., licensee of KNXV-TV. In January 2014, KNXV-TV ran a  political ad sponsored by the House Majority PAC
(“HMP”). The station failed to disclose
information about HMP and the ad in its online political file as required by the Communications
Act and the FCC’s
regulations.
I.
 
Facts A.
 
Parties
The Campaign Legal Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes awareness and enforcement of political broadcasting laws. The
Campaign Legal Center’s
mission is to represent the public interest in the enforcement of media and campaign laws. Through public education, advocacy for federal rulemaking proceedings, and congressional
 
2 action, the Campaign Legal Center seeks to shape political broadcasting policies and promote effective enforcement of the public interest obligations of the media.
1
 The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for open government globally and uses technology to make government more accountable to all. Sunlight accomplishes these goals at municipal, federal, and international levels by building tools that empower democratic participation and by working with policymakers and civil society organizations to employ a technology-centric and transparency-oriented approach to their work. The Sunlight Foundation has built tools that empower individuals and journalists to better and more easily understand political spending across the United States, which depend on data found within broadcast stations' political files and elsewhere.
2
 KNXV-TV is an ABC-affiliated broadcast station in Phoenix, Arizona. Phoenix is the 12th largest Designated Market Area in the country, serving more than 1.8 million households.
3
 Scripps Media, Inc., licensee of KNXV-TV, is owned by the E.W. Scripps Company. The E.W. Scripps Company is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and is a media conglomerate that deals in television, newspaper, and digital application and marketing services.
4
 
1
 
See
Campaign Legal Center,
 
http://www.campaignlegalcenter.org (last visited Apr. 3, 2014).
2
 For instance, Political Ad Sleuth and Ad Hawk are two such tools.
See
 Political Ad Sleuth, http://politicaladsleuth.com (a searchable database created from FCC online public file documents); Ad Hawk, http://adhawk.sunlightfoundation.com (a mobile app allowing identification of political ads).
3
 
 Local Television Market Universe Estimates
, The Nielsen Company, (2013), http://www.tvb.org/media/file/TVB_Market_Profiles_Nielsen_TVHH_DMA_Ranks_2013-2014.pdf.
 
4
 Scripps, About Us,
 
http://www.scripps.com/about (last visited Apr. 3, 2014).
 
3
B.
 
The Advertisement
In January 2014, KNXV-TV broadcast a political ad sponsored by HMP.
5
 HMP is a Super PAC headquartered in Washington, D.C., that focuses on responding to Republican advertisements and helping Democrats win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives.
6
 The HMP ad,
entitled “Listens
,
 refers to U.S. Representative Ann Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick is
the current Representative from Arizona’s 1
st Congressional District, and is running for reelection. The ad, transcribed below, refers to flaws in the HealthCare.gov website and describes
Kirkpatrick’s efforts to make sure
national health care plans work effectively for families and businesses.
7
 [Narrator:] It
s here, in small towns and wide-open spaces, that Ann Kirkpatrick listens and learns. It
s why she blew the whistle
on the disastrous health care website, calling it “stunning ineptitude,” and worked to fix it. She fought to hold insurance companies accountable so they can’t
deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, or drop coverage when you get sick.
Ann Kirkpatrick: seeing what’s wrong, doing what’s
right. HMP ran this and another ad in Tucson and Phoenix, spending over $200,000.
8
 HMP spent over $28,000 to broadcast this ad at KNXV-TV for one week.
5
 Exhibit A, attached, provid
es a screenshot of HMP’s website confirming that the ad aired in
Phoenix during January 2014. The ad is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlv-YvK7I98.
6
 House Majority PAC, Our Story, http://www.thehousemajoritypac.com/about-us/our-story (last visited Mar. 4, 2014).
7
 
See
Press Release,
 
House Majority PAC (Jan. 16, 2014), http://www.thehousemajoritypac.com/news/press-releases/house-majority-pac-unveils-tv-spots-defending-arizona-reps-kirkpatrick-barber-against-deceptive.
8
 
 Id.
 

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