Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

FCC expands rules on political ad spending information

WASHINGTON — Federal regulators on Thursday voted to give the public easier access to data about advertising spending by presidential candidates and other political campaigns, requiring pay-TV providers and radio stations to post the information on an Internet database.

The 5-0 vote by the Federal Communications Commission expands a requirement that was placed on TV broadcasters in 2012 to make their so-called public files available on a central agency database instead of forcing people to physically view paper files at stations.

The expanded rules are expected to go into effect in time for the heavy political ad spending leading up to the November presidential and congressional elections.

"These days, it doesn't make sense for hard copies of the documents to gather dust in forlorn file cabinets," said FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, a Republican.

Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said the agency's rules were outdated and left the public data "locked in the information practices of the past."

"This kind of requirement may have made sense in the Mad Men era, but it makes no sense in the digital age," she said of the old rules on public access.

Broadcast TV carries the most political advertising, the FCC said. But ad spending on pay TV and other media is growing so there was a need to expand the online access requirement.

The new rules apply to most cable and satellite TV providers, as well as broadcast and satellite radio.

"This is a huge step toward making political advertising more transparent," said John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, a public interest group that advocates more access to government information and the flow of political money.

"Political ad spending is already moving at a breakneck pace and the public deserves to know how much is being spent to influence our elections on the airwaves," he said.

Wonderlich urged the FCC to focus next on making the data more usable by requiring a standardized format to allow easier search and analysis.

The public files contain data about the purchases of political advertising, as well as information on programming, station ownership and other details.

The rules are expected to take effect in three to six months, after publication in the Federal Registers and a review by the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Cable systems with fewer than 1,000 subscribers are exempted from the new rules because they have few requirements for their public files and do not have to provide political ad spending data. Cable systems with 1,000 to 5,000 subscribers will have two years to comply.

FCC expands rules on political ad spending information 01/28/16 [Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2016 10:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies find unidentified decomposing body in Dunedin canal

    Public Safety

    DUNEDIN — Pinellas County sheriff's deputies found an unidentified male body floating in a Dunedin canal Monday afternoon, the Sheriff's Office said.

  2. Rays acquire slick-fielding shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria from Marlins

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Chaim Bloom said the Rays weren't necessarily in the market for a shortstop. The team has a number of those. But when the Marlins recently began shopping Adeiny Hechavarria, well, that was too much to pass up.

    Adeiny Hechavarria has emerged as one of baseball’s top defensive shortstops in the past three seasons with the Marlins.
  3. Lightning journal: Forward Yanni Gourde agrees to two-year deal

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Just three years ago, Yanni Gourde was fighting to stay in pro hockey.

    Tampa Bay Lightning center Yanni Gourde celebrates after scoring against the Florida Panthers during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, March 11, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA108
  4. Fennelly: About time Dave Andreychuk makes Hockey Hall of Fame

    Lightning Strikes

    It's Andy's time.

    And it's about time.

    Former Lightning captain Dave Andreychuk has been elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He had been eligible since 2009, a ridiculously long wait for someone who scored 640 goals, including a record 274 on the power play.

    LEFT: Dave Andreychuk talks at the podium as he is honored with a statue in front of the now-Amalie Arena.
  5. British government says 75 out of 75 buildings failed fire safety tests

    World

    LONDON — Britain on Monday confronted a rapidly growing fire safety crisis after tests of the exterior cladding on dozens of public housing towers revealed a 100 percent failure rate, raising fears that this month's deadly inferno in London could be repeated elsewhere.

    Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali, presents his first Chrono-Hologram in Paris, France, in 1973. A Spanish judge on Monday June 26, 2017, has ordered the remains of artist Salvador Dali to be exhumed following a paternity suit by a woman named by Europa Press agency as Pilar Abel, 61 from the nearby city of Girona. Dali, considered one of the fathers of surrealism in art, died in 1989 and is buried in his museum in the northeastern town of Figueres. [Associated Press]