The Public File: Mayoral Candidates Join Ad-Buying Race
Editor's Note: Civil Beat is tracking money spent by candidates and political groups on campaign ads. TV stations are required by federal law to maintain so-called public files that are open to inspection. But, despite urging by the Federal Communications Commission, they don't post the files on line; only Oceanic Time Warner cable is making the files available online. So every week, we send a reporter to the the stations in downtown Honolulu, copy the records, scan them in and post on our website. We plan to do this through the Nov. 6 election.
Cayetano paid $732 for one spot on KHNL. His 30-second ad aired Wednesday night during the first televised mayoral debate.
Caldwell spent $900 for four spots on KHNL, $930 for 10 spots on KGMB and $200 for four spots on KFIVE. These ads ran from Tuesday to Friday.
Both still have a long way to go to catch up with Mayor Peter Carlisle, who has bought ads all the way through the Aug. 11 primary.
The public file shows that Carlisle has spent nearly $130,000 for 461 spots on local TV stations. His ads began airing this week, almost all of them during the evening news.
On the independent expenditure front, the public file shows more ads purchased by VoteVets.org. This mainland PAC has spent a total of $75,000 on political advertising to support Honolulu City Council member Tulsi Gabbard's bid for the 2nd congressional District.
So far, about $56,000 in VoteVets' purchases have shown up in the public files. Last week the file showed $48,000 for 97 spots on all stations. This week, the file shows $7,850 for 22 spots on KITV that are running this and next week.
There were no new expenditures by candidates on Oceanic Time Warner's online database.
Candidates and PACs spent a combined $10,633 on local networks this week. Last week, the figure was $172,375.
By law, all broadcasters are required to make public information about who's bought political ads and how much they've paid. These files can be helpful in determining the influence of money on elections. Hawaii's local TV stations do not post this information online. In an attempt to make these documents more easily accessible, each week Civil Beat will visit the stations, get the copies of the public files and post them online.
DISCUSSION: What do you think about the mayoral candidates' spending on advertising so far?
Here are the public file reports for Kirk Caldwell, Ben Cayetano and VoteVets.org.