(Updated Feb. 8, 5:52 p.m.)
The Emergency Committee for Israel has launched a new ad campaign to oppose former Sen. Chuck Hagel's nomination for secretary of defense, after the vote to confirm him was delayed in the Senate.
A decision by the Senate Armed Services Committee to postpone its vote on Hagel's nomination -- made because some committee members said they wanted more information about Hagel's speaking engagements -- gave the groups spending against him more time to place ads. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., chairman of the committee, said he plans to hold the vote as soon ...Continue reading
Sunday's Super Bowl was the country's top rated sporting spectacle--but viewers in Washington area got something extra: more political ads. Three groups spent a total of $200,000 to air political ads for DC-area super bowl viewers. For the first time this year, these ad contracts are available online, thanks to an FCC order that went into effect last summer.Continue reading
For the first time last year, the Federal Communications Commission began requiring certain TV stations to post political ad buy contracts online. Yet an apparent snafu at a Florida station that kept all buys made in the final month of the election offline until earlier this month raises questions about just how well that system is working.Continue reading
The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission Supreme Court ruling has left an indelible mark on U.S. politics. Since the January 2010 ruling outside groups and organizations have been able to promote their own special interests with neither accountability nor transparency. In the past three years, we've seen a flood of secretive money, the formation of super PACs and little done in the way of policy to reveal the source of the funding. Our timeline breaks events into four categories: Courts (major court rulings and cases), Disclose (legislation around greater disclosure of political contributions and spending), Super PACs (trend and news for independent expenditure only committees) and FEC (decisions made by the Federal Election Commission).Continue reading
With the end of the 2012 election season, so too comes the conclusion of a seemingly infinite number of campaign... View ArticleContinue reading
Regardless of who wins the presidential election, the next administration will have enormous power to say how open our government will be. We have organized our priorities for the next administration below, to share where we think our work on executive branch issues will be focused, in advance of the election results. From money in politics to open data, spending, and freedom of information, we'll be working to open up the Executive Branch. We'd love to hear any suggestions you might have for Sunlight's Executive Branch work, please leave additional ideas in the comments below. (We'll also be sharing other recommendations soon, including a legislative agenda for the 113th Congress, and a suite of reform proposals for the House and Senate rules packages.) Sunlight Reform Agenda for the Next Administration:Continue reading
Within 60 days of an election, every dollar spent by a candidate has the same television advertising buying power as $1.63 from any non-candidate source, according to a new analysis of advertisement contracts in the Las Vegas media market. During this period, FCC regulations mandate that TV stations charge candidates “no more per unit than the station charges its most favorite commercial advertisers” for the same ad time. As it turns out, this preferred status nets candidates a significant discount over super PACs, dark money organizations and party committees. According to this new data—collected through Sunlight’s Political Ad Sleuth—candidates enjoy an average markdown of $364 off their typical $946 price tag for a thirty second spot, which constitutes a 38.5 percent price cut. This helps to explain why, as Ezra Klein has pointed out, ads from Obama and his allies have been more frequent than ads from Romney and his allies. Because more money on the Republican side has been flowing into the election through super PACs and other outside groups, the GOP’s purchasing power is diminished.Continue reading
The Federal Communication Commission's online political ad database is supposed to make information about heavy political hitters more accessible, but a lack of clarity in the rules has resulted in some stations effectively censoring what the public is permitted to see.
An analysis using Sunlight's Political Ad Sleuth, a project to organize and expand the FCC database, shows that of the more than 220 stations that are required to post their political files online, more than half have removed documents since the process began Aug. 2. More than 2,100 of the total 35,400 records appear to ...Continue reading
Today, Sunlight and Free Press are proud to launch Political Ad Sleuth, a new project dedicated to collecting and posting... View ArticleContinue reading
Above Las Vegas last week, the air invisibly crackled with attacks and counter-attacks by candidates for a House and a Senate seat -- not to mention President Obama, his rival Mitt Romney and their backers. In Denver, there was a clash of political fronts: Outside groups like Planned Parenthood and Crossroads GPS competed for airtime with each other, as well as the candidates they are supporting.
In Grand Rapids, Mich., ads in a high-priced contest over a bridge to Canada dominated the TV airwaves, while in Sacramento, it was ballot initiatives and House races vying for voters' attention. Milwaukee viewers were ...Continue reading