Free the Files API

With our Free the Files API, you can get political TV spending data reviewed and verified by readers from FCC filings in 33 swing markets.

Like all of ProPublica's data, Free The Files data is available free of charge and is licensed under our modified Creative Commons license. Using our data means you agree to our Terms of Use. Please read the Terms of Use before you proceed.

Requests

The FTF API uses a RESTful style. See individual methods below for permitted requests.

Constructing a Request

The FTF API only accepts GET requests. All requests begin with https://projects.propublica.org/free-the-files

Response Formats

The FTF API responses are available in the json format. Responses are also available as jsonp by passing in a callback parameter.

Parameters

Parameters vary by method. See individual methods for required and optional parameters.

Caveats

The FTF API is a work in progress and is subject to change. Please consult this documentation page for the latest API developments.

Market Objects

Field Description Possible values
name Market name as specified by Nielsen BOSTON (MANCHESTER)
titleized_name Display name for a market. Boston and Manchester, N.H.
slug Market ID in our database. Use the slug to query for a specific market boston-manchester
filings_ct Number of files we've scraped from the FCC
freed_ct Number of files we've "freed" (meaning, our readers have reviewed and verified attributes in the file).
gross_amount How much spending we've logged so far. Note, gross_amount should be used with caution and labeled as an estimate, since duplicate orders and invoices may inadvertendly be verified by ours users.

Station Objects

Field Description Possible values
callsign Television call sign assigned by the FCC. Use the callsign to query for a specific station. WLNY-TV
freed_files An array of filing objects.

Committee Objects

Field Description Possible values
name Committee name PRIORITIES USA ACTION
slug Committee ID in our database. Use the slug to query for a specific committee priorities-usa-action
freed_ct Number of filings our users have "freed" from this committee.
fec_id Federal Election Commission ID for the committee, if we've identified this committee as one that reports to the FEC. C00495861
pactrack Boolean to flag if this committee appears in our PACTrack application. If so, you can build a link to the pactrack page as follows: http://projects.propublica.org/pactrack/#committee= + FEC_ID true
from_pactrack An object of data about the committee from our PACTrack application (if pactrack is true). This object may include total_spent which is the group's total independent expenditures as reported to the FEC, a short description of the group in goal and a committee_type attribute which can be one of "Super PAC," "501(c)(4)," "501(c)(6)," "501(c)(5)," "PAC," "527," "Local Committee," "Party Committee," "Corporation," "Individual" or "Unknown"
canonical_committee_id If the current committee is an alternate name for a "canonical" committee name, this value will refer to the ID of the that committee.
gross_amount How much spending we've logged so far. Note, gross_amount should be used with caution and labeled as an estimate, since duplicate orders and invoices may inadvertendly be verified by ours users.
freed_files An array of filing objects.

Filing Objects

Field Description Possible values
id ID for this filing in our database, for querying individual filings
filing_type Type of filing when filed with the FCC Non-Candidate Issue Ads
contract_number Contract number for an ad buy, as reviewed and verified by our readers
url Path to the filing on the FCC's site. The prefix to these paths is https://stations.fcc.gov/ /collect/files/46979/Political File/2012/Non-Candidate Issue Ads/Protect Your Vote Ohio - Issue 2/issue 2 (13476576228314)_.pdf
committee The committee object for the committee that purchased the ad, as reviewed and verified by our readers
agency An `Agency` object for the agency who made the ad purchase, as reviewed and verified by our readers.
"agency": {
    "name": "STRATEGIC MEDIA PLACEMENT"
}
callsign Call sign for the TV station at which the ad was placed WLWT
dc_slug ID for the document in DocumentCloud. To access the document directly from DocumentCloud, use http://documentcloud.org/documents/ + dc_slug 433884-collect-files-46979-political-file-2012-non
thumbnail_url Thumbnail image for the document as created by DocumentCloud https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/documents/433884/pages/collect-files-46979-political-file-2012-non-p1-thumbnail.gif
gross_amount Amount the ad was purchased for, as reviewed and verified by our readers
market_id ID in our database for the market in which the ad was placed.
upload_date Date that the filing was uploaded to the FCC. Occasionally null. 2012-09-24T00:00:00Z

All Markets

GET /markets.json

Market

GET /markets/:slug.json

Station

GET /stations/:callsign.json

All Committees

GET /committees.json

Committee

GET /committees/:slug.json

Filing

GET /filings/:id.json

Wrappers and Modules

Node: node-ftf

Questions? Comments?

Contact Al Shaw: al.shaw@propublica.org

Changelog

  • Oct. 22, 2012. Add from_pactrack object to Committee objects.
  • Oct. 17, 2012. Add upload_date to Filing objects.
  • Oct. 16, 2012. Initial release.