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Hundt Calls For Political Ad Fund

Politicians who are forever fretting over the high cost of campaign advertising may have found a friend in FCC chairman Reed Hundt.

Hundt called Dec. 8 for the possible establishment of a trust fund that would be used to help politicos buy TV and radio time to promote their candidacies. He said the trust fund could come from interest spun off from a portion of the $9 billion the FCC raised through auctioning of a portion of the radio spectra.

“It is impossible to overestimate the harm to the legislative process caused by the sheer amount of time required to raise funds for TV time-buys,” said Hundt in a speech at Princeton U. “It’s no coincidence that as the fundraising needs soar, incumbents in record numbers decline to seek re-election.”

Hundt noted that Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch has called the fundraising demands placed on political candidates a “cancer” on the U.S. election process.

Hundt also suggested establishment of a “time bank” under which broadcasters and other media providers would set aside a certain amount of free time for political candidates. The FCC chairman said Congress could compensate broadcasters with tax deductions “for their contributions to the political process,” and that the FCC could waive some of its ownership rules for those stations donating free air time.

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