Free Press, the Campaign Legal Center and other fans of the
FCC's online political file-posting rules has told a federal court not to grant
Association of Broadcasters' request that it stay the Aug. 2 effective date
of the rules until the court rules on NAB's July 10 challenge.
NAB had sought an emergency stay of the FCC rules, which
require TV stations to start uploading their public files to the FCC website
Aug. 2, and 200 top-market network affiliates to do the same with their
Campaign Legal Center et al. counter that NAB has not met
any of the criteria for such a stay.
They say NAB is not likely to succeed on the merits of its
argument that the FCC action was arbitrary and capricious, a standard of review
it says is "narrow and deferential to the agency." It says the FCC
decision does not raise antitrust concerns, nor was it unreasonable to have
declined an alternative proposal by stations. (They had offered to supply
aggregate rather than individual spot prices, and to expand reporting to spots
that would not have to be included under the FCC rules.)
As to the claim of irreparable harm, the groups say they are
purely speculative and unsupported. By contrast, they say they would be harmed
by the stay since it would make it much harder for them to research the impact
of third party groups and campaigns on elections.
The court will need to render a decision in the next 10 days
or it will be mooted by the calendar.