You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Supreme Court Campaign Finance Decision to Give TV Stations a Spending Windfall

April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court’s latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations.

The high court’s 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates in an election cycle, as well as the $74,600 limit on contributions to political parties. Spending on political advertising has spiked during the past four years since the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010 removed restrictions on contributions to independent committees that advocate for or against candidates.

The windfall of money, almost all of it regionally targeted to local television and radio, has been a factor driving the rush of TV station mergers and acquisitions during the past two years. Deep-pocketed broadcasters such as Tribune Co., Gannett and Sinclair Broadcast Group have sought to create super-clusters of stations.

According to the Television Bureau of Advertising, politicos spent $2.9 billion to advertise on local stations in 2012, up 38% from $2.1 billion in 2010. The TVB predicts $2.5 billion will be spread around local TV stations in this year’s midterm elections — but that could rise, particularly in key battleground states, now that donors can write bigger checks.

Proponents of campaign finance reform decried the court’s decision. Common Cause prexy Miles Rapoport lamented the ruling “further opening the floodgates for the nation’s wealthiest few to drown out the voices of the rest of us.”

More TV

  • New Day CNN

    CNN Fights 'Fake News' Claims With New 'Facts First' Campaign (EXCLUSIVE)

    April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court’s latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations. The high court’s 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates […]

  • BYU Broadcasting to Streamline TV and

    BYU Broadcasting to Streamline TV and Radio Operations, Boost BYUtv Distribution

    April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court’s latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations. The high court’s 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates […]

  • U.K. Documentary To Venture Inside the

    U.K. Documentary To Venture Inside the U.S. Embassy

    April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court’s latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations. The high court’s 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates […]

  • Discop Africa TV Market Kicks off

    Discop Africa TV Market Kicks off with All Eyes on African Biz Boom

    April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court’s latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations. The high court’s 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates […]

  • The Walking Dead Season 8 Episode

    'Walking Dead' Recap: Season 8 Premiere Brings War to Negan's Doorstep (SPOILERS)

    April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court’s latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations. The high court’s 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates […]

  • Outlander

    'Outlander' Recap: 'A. Malcolm' Celebrates Claire and Jamie's Reunion

    April 2 was like Christmas for TV station groups. The Supreme Court’s latest decision striking down limits on political campaign contributions promises to inject more velocity into the gusher of ad dollars flowing to local TV and radio stations. The high court’s 5-4 decision invalidated the $48,600 cap an individual can give to all candidates […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content