Political Ad Sleuth

Source: Sunlight Foundation, 2014

Search, Upload, Share Political Ad Information

Help us find out who’s trying to influence your vote.

Use this site to get the latest information on political ads purchased at television stations around the country. These files provide the only information we have on who’s behind some of the shadowy groups pouring money into the election. You can sort it by state and individual television market or search by date. This information is not complete but it is the most comprehensive data available. With your help, we’re trying to fill the gaps by getting paper files from TV stations and by entering data. For information on how you can help, check here.
Tracking political spending on television ads just got easier
Source: Al Tompkins, Poynter, July 1, 2014

…Using the tool

Let me walk you through how to use the political ad sleuth tool.

If we open the file on Charlotte, North Carolina TV station reports, we see that the network affiliated stations have written lots of contracts for political ads in the last week. To get details on each contract just click on the contract. Let’s open the first one listed on the page, an ad buy on WBTV. (The Click on the “open original document” file and you will see the actual $71,900 ad contract between the TV station and Waterfront Strategies, an ad buyer for super-PACs.)

But we want to know who is paying the ad buyer. I have marked up the contract to show you where to look for that information. Different invoices use slightly different formats, but you get the idea from this one. I have placed boxes over the ad agency and the advertiser/buyer….