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Introducing a Free the Files API

Today we're opening a Free The Files API which will offer developers access to markets, stations, committees and filings data from our crowdsourced app


A litle over two weeks ago, we launched our Free the Files project, in which ProPublica and our readers are working together to reveal political spending in 33 swing markets from ad buy documents TV stations file with the Federal Communications Commission. With over 5,000 files and $300 million freed by nearly 500 users, we’ve got plenty of data on political ad spending in the 2012 election. Today we’re opening up that data for developers in a new API. Here are the API docs.

For now, the API will focus on four object types: markets, stations, committees and filings, and will only include files that have been “freed,” meaning that each data point in the filing has been reviewed and verified by more than one Free the Files participant. It also includes links to the original documents on the FCC’s site, and the versions we’ve uploaded to DocumentCloud. The API also includes FEC IDs when we have them, which can be used to link to PAC Track pages, or committee data in the New York Times Campaign Finance API.

The Free The Files API is the first ProPublica API based on dynamic user-contributed data, and we’re excited to see what developers can build with the ever growing torrent of political spending. Check out the documentation and let us know what you build!

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