Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



During the past decade, independent political action committees (PACs) have grown dramatically as an alternative source of funding for political candidates. Congress and many commentators have expressed fear over the potential political power of these independent expenditure groups, which are not accountable to political parties. In their Article Messrs. Ferris and Ballard argue that the political broadcasting laws, particularly the Fairness Doctrine, serve as essential barriers to PACs' attempts to dominate the political process through unrestricted spending on political advertising. Although some critics have denounced the Fairness Doctrine, which requires broadcasters to provide balanced coverage of controversial issues, as outdated and unnecessary, Messrs. Ferris and Ballard argue that the doctrine may in-deed provide an effective means for balancing the public's need for information, the broadcasters' editorial freedom, and the PACs' rights to free expression.