Tuesday July 03, 2012 | 12:33 PM

Some television stations will soon have to publish online information about political ads, thanks to a ruling by the White House Office of Management and Budget. It doesn't appear that the rule will apply to Maine TV stations, however.

Today's ruling ratifies a May decision by the Federal Communications Commission to force stations in the 50 largest television markets to publish political ad buys on station websites. Maine media markets are too small to qualify, according an interactive map published by the Sunlight Foundation.

Television stations in the greater Boston area and selected New Hampshire markets qualify. The New Hampshire territory includes Manchester and the seacoast region, but doesn't cross the Maine border.

The ruling is being hailed by campaign transparency advocates. Television stations already retain the the information in their public files. However, those files are currently only available for in-person inspection.

The order applies to the four major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox in the nation's 50 largest television markets.

The National Association of Broadcasters has sued to block the ruling, arguing that publishing the content is expensive and burdensome.

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Steve Mistler covers politics and government for the Portland Press Herald. He spends a lot of time in the hallways of the State House.

Steve can be reached at 791-6345 or smistler@pressherald.com.
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