The FCC just circulated an NPRM that promises to effect Sunlight's demands for more transparency in political ad spending.Continue reading
Ted Cruz Moves on from Trying to Defund Obamacare to Defending Dark Money
Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) mission to shutter the government in one fell swoop may be (temporarily) over, but that doesn’t mean he’s stopped trying to handcuff federal agencies in an effort to impose his own agenda on their work. His most recent effort involves preventing a Senate vote on the nomination of Tom Wheeler for FCC chairman because he wants to get Wheeler’s commitment that he will not use the FCC’s regulatory authority to require disclosure of the dark money behind political ads. In a statement, Senator Cruz’s office announced, “Yes, the Senator is holding the nominee until he gets answers to his questions regarding Mr. Wheeler’s views on whether the FCC has the authority or intent to implement the requirements of the failed Congressional DISCLOSE Act. Mr. Wheeler had previously declined to give specific answers, but as he’s now expressed his readiness to revisit the Senator’s questions, the Senator hopes to communicate with him soon.” Good luck to Mr. Wheeler during that conversation.Continue reading
Political Ad Sleuth debuts: Track the money behind the campaign ads
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
Court to broadcasters: Put political ad files online
Television stations in the nation's top 50 markets will have to begin putting information about political ad buys online next week under a court order issued late Friday by a panel of federal judges.
In a terse three-sentence order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied an the National Association of Broadcasters' effort to block a Federal Communications Commission order that requires the stations to begin posting the ad information on Thursday.
UPDATE: The NAB will continue to fight the decision in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, though it seems they will ...Continue reading
Broadcasters petition FCC to stay online posting of political ad files
The nation's broadcasters are trying another method to stop the Federal Communications Commission from putting information about political ads online.
On Tuesday, the same day that the FCC put TV stations in the nation's top 50 markets on notice to begin posting the ad information by Aug. 2, the National Association of Broadcasters filed a petition asking that the order be delayed until the trade association can try to have it countermanded in federal court. That likely would push resolution of the dispute well past this fall's election.
In its petition to the FCC, the broadcasters' association ...Continue reading
OMB clears way for FCC to put political ads online
Pushing back against the nation's broadcasters, the White House Office of Management and Budget has approved a rule requiring television stations in the nation's top markets to put information about political ad buys online.
The Federal Communications Commission had already passed the rule but the OMB had to certify that it does not violate government rules that call for minimizing paperwork. That's exactly what the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) unsuccessfully argued that it does.
That could mean that commercial time purchased on local broadcast stations by candidates and as well as by outside groups trying to ...Continue reading
Time Warner Cable posts its political file online, so why the fuss, NAB?
If posting already-public information on political ad spending is so damaging to broadcasters, as the National Association of Broadcasters argues, then why has one of the country's biggest cable providers been doing it since 2010?
Back then, Time Warner Cable created an online portal to search information regarding political ads sold on its system. Initially the portal served only the east coast, but has since provided data nationwide since 2011, according to a Time Warner spokesman. The ad buy records are available as downloadable PDFs.
Current law requires TV stations to keep political ad purchase orders on file at ...Continue reading
FCC expects political ad buys to be online before 2012 election
The Federal Communications Commission voted to give the public online access to reports detailing new political ad buys from affiliates of the top four networks in the 50 largest media markets before November’s election, despite objections from the nation’s broadcasters.
The only hurdle now: the Office of Management and Budget must approve the new rule. After that, the top four stations in the biggest markets will put the ad buys on the Federal Communication Commission’s website. And the FCC expects that approval soon, William Lake, the chief of the media bureau, told reporters after the meeting.
After ...Continue reading