Opening the Broadcasters’ Books

Coverage Type: reporting
Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC, 20554, United States

[Commentary] Television stations have been making a lot more money from campaign ads since the Supreme Court helped lift the limits on contributions to political groups. The public, though, has been kept in the dark about how much these groups and the so-called super PACs are spending, and where they are spending it, because the stations don’t want to make it easy to find out how much they are being paid for those ads. On April 27, the Federal Communications Commission will have an opportunity to make this murky process far more transparent. By voting to require broadcasters to report their political ad sales on a national database — rejecting the stations’ claim that this is too burdensome or expensive — the commission can help the public get a far broader sense of the powerful financial forces driving today’s politics. By requiring them to make those earnings accessible, the FCC would help the public make better sense of the flood tide of money pouring into politics.



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