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PIPAC: NAB Online Political Stay Should Be Denied

The Public Interest Public Airwaves Coalition (PIPAC) has filed a petition with the D.C. Federal appeals court opposing the National Association of Broadcasters motion, filed only hours before, for an emergency stay of the FCC's online political file rules, scheduled to go into effect Aug. 2.

PIPAC, comprising Free Press, the Benton Foundation and other online political file fans, claim that NAB has not shown it is likely to prevail on the merits of its court challenge to the rules or that its members would be harmed if it goes into effect, both standards that must be met if a stay is to be granted.

PIPAC adds that the stay would substantially harm other interested parties, its members, who it says would have to devote more time and resources to gather the info from stations -- political spot prices and who is buying the ads -- from local TV station paper files.

Lastly, they argue that the stay would not be in the public interest. "With the 2012 presidential election fast approaching and huge sums of money being spent to persuade potential voters, it is especially important that the public be able to easily find out who is paying and how much is being paid for the campaign messages they see on television," they told the court.

The FCC had said its hope was that the rules would take effect in this election cycle, and the Office of Management and Budget was particularly expedient in approving the paperwork collection portion of the rules.