The Federal Communications Commission just made it a lot easier to track the source of campaign ads on radio and television. By a 2-1 vote, they will now require all broadcasters to make their “public file” of records on which groups are buying ads and how much they spent available online.
This is a real plus for those who track campaign spending. My friend Rich Robinson, director of the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, issues multiple reports every year on which groups are spending money to buy campaign ads on behalf of which candidates. And currently he has to drive all over the state and visit the offices of every TV and radio station in order to get that information — all the way from Detroit to Marquette, a full day’s drive. Once this rule is implemented in two years, he’ll be able to sit at his computer and have all that data at his fingertips. A major victory for transparency.
And would it surprise you to hear that the two Democrats on the FCC voted for the new rule and the one Republican voted against it? I can’t imagine why it would.