Red shows TV markets left out of the FCC ruling to require stations in the top 50 to post political ad buys. For a closer view, zoom in; for more information, click on an area. (Credit: Sunlight Foundation)
FCC vote brings (some) increased transparency to political ads
The Federal Communications Commission voted Friday to require the four major broadcasters in the 50 largest markets in the U.S. to post information about the political advertisements flooding the airwaves online.
The new rule requires the broadcasters to post their “political file,” contracts that contain such information as which groups (i.e. super PACs, politically active nonprofits, other committees) are buying the ads, including the names of key personnel in the groups and how much they are paying for time. The ruling forces major network affiliates in the 50 largest markets to put their contracts into .pdf format and upload them into a database hosted by the FCC and accessible to the public.
As the above map provided by Sunlight Foundation shows, however, this ruling will only impact TV markets in a portion of the country. At least 160 other TV markets will remain unaffected.
Read more about the proposal and why it matters on OpenSecrets Blog.