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OMB Approves Online Political File Paperwork Collection

According to the Sunlight Foundation, which has been pushing for TV station online political file posting, the Office of Management and Budget late last week informed the FCC it had approved the paperwork-collection requirements of the FCC's online political file posting order.

OMB has to approve any new regs that impose new paperwork collection requirements.

A National Association of Broadcasters spokesperson also said the rules had been approved. An FCC spokesperson was not available for comment.

The rules, which were approved in April, have not yet been published in the Federal Register. The new requirement does not become effective until 30 days after that.

The FCC is requiring the top four network affiliated TV stations in the top 50 markets to send the FCC their political files, which include spot prices, for posting in a database administered by the FCC.  The balance of TV stations will follow suit within two years, though the FCC will seek comment after a year on how the initial requirement is impacting those first 200 stations.

The National Association of Broadcasters challenged the rules in court on the grounds the order is arbitrary and capricious because, for one reason, they do not apply to cable or satellite. Separately, TV stations have asked the FCC to reconsider the decision, offering an alternative of posting aggregate, not individual prices. They argue posting the prices will put them at a disadvantage to cable competitors, although, at least one major cable operators, Time Warner Cable, already posts its political spot prices online.