For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 

Jay Costa
w: 510-868-0894
t: @imonlyabill

Commercial TV and Radio Group Tries to Thwart Disclose of Income From Political Ads

WASHINGTON - On Jan. 23, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) filed another in a series of comments to the FCC opposing new rules that would require broadcast TV stations to post information online about the political ads they air. Current FCC rules only require that broadcast TV and radio stations maintain a "public inspection file" (PIF) at their studio, which is to be made freely available to the public. The PIF contains information that is of public interest, including the so-called "political file," which contains a record of air time purchases for political ads.

Interest groups representing commercial TV and radio stations, such as the National Association of Broadcasters, have opposed new FCC rules that would require stations to post their public inspection files online. Previously, viewing the file was only possible by visiting a station's main studio. In a comment, the NAB argued that posting the information online, "would provide no clear new benefit to the public but would be a new burden on broadcasters."

The claim of no clear new benefit comes despite the fact that 2012 is expected to be one of the most expensive election cycles in history, brought about by the influx of so-called super PACs, which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to influence political outcomes.

For the recent Florida Republican primary alone, campaigns and super PACs aligned with presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich spent $15.6 million and $3.3 million, respectively, on advertising, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Interest groups representing TV and radio stations that benefit financially from these ads have also contributed millions to the campaigns of members of Congress. MapLight has conducted an analysis of campaign contributions to members of Congress by interest groups representing Commercial TV & radio stations.

METHODOLOGY: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions connected to Commercial TV & Radio Stations to current members of Congress. Contribution date range for House members is July 1, 2009 - June 30, 2011 and Senate members is July 1, 2005 - June 30, 2011. Campaign contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics (

A link to this data release can be found here.


This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do.

MapLight is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization that reveals money's influence on politics.

Share This Article

More in: