Energetic Moves

Posted February 4, 2004 at 5:49pm

Rep. Ralph Hall’s (Texas) recent switch to the Republican Party brought some good news to at least one Democrat.

By leaving the Democratic Caucus, Hall opened up seats on a pair of Energy and Commerce subcommittees. On Wednesday, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) was tapped to serve for the remainder of the session on both the health and the commerce, trade and consumer protection panels. Rush will carry over his seniority status from his subcommittees.

He will continue to serve on another pair of Energy subcommittees — telecommunications and the Internet, and environment and hazardous materials — but has relinquished his duties on oversight and investigations as well as energy and air quality.

“As of last year, the Institute of Medicine released a study confirming — once again — that racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S., receive lower quality healthcare than whites, even when their insurance and income levels are comparable,” Rush said. “The differences are pervasive and being on the Subcommittee on Health gives me a unique opportunity to address health disparity issues among minorities.”

What’s the Frequency? The Federal Communications Commission this week launched its Web-based Electioneering Communications Database.

The database (located at https://gull foss2.fcc.gov/ecd or https://svartifoss2. fcc.gov/ecd) will be a key tool to help groups and individuals determine whether their ads qualify as “electioneering communications.” The database allows users to easily check whether an ad aired on various television, radio and cable stations is reaching at least 50,000 people in the targeted electorate.

If the communication reaches 50,000 or more people in a particular state or Congressional district, it may qualify as an “electioneering communication.” The campaign finance law requires every person who spends more than $10,000 on an electioneering communication — which does not include a communication purchased by a candidate — to make certain disclosures to the Federal Election Commission and abide by certain regulations.

— John McArdle and Amy Keller