FCC renews effort to put political broadcast ad disclosures online

Oct 27, 2011
Originally published on October 27, 2011 3:55 pm

An antiquated requirement for disclosing the financial source behind political ads may be getting an overhaul.

The Federal Communications Commission wants TV and radio stations to post information about their political advertisers online.

It's an obscure fact that candidates, political parties and advocacy groups have to reveal how much they're paying for ads, when the ads are running and which candidates are being promoted or attacked.

This transparency standard has been in place for decades. But it's obscure because those disclosures are made on paper at the broadcast stations. They end up in the manila folders and you have to go there to see them.

Now the FCC is proposing that the disclosure forms be improved and put online on a website hosted by the commission.

The commission tried to do this four years ago. But, then, stations would have had to use the own websites. And the initiative died.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.