Groups Ask Senate Not to Block FCC Political File Order

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Fans of the Federal Communications Commission's online political file order have written the leadership of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee asking them not to try to block funding of that new rule, as their House counterparts have done.

In a letter to the Hill Wednesday, Free Press, Common Cause, the Sunlight Foundation and 16 other groups asked those senators to oppose an FCC appropriations bill that would block implementation of the requirement that TV stations send their political files, including spot prices, to the FCC for online posting, likely beginning sometime late next month or August.

The House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee last week passed its version of an FCC appropriations bill last week with an amendment blocking implementation of the online political file posting requirement. According to Free Press senior policy counsel Corie Wright, that could get a vote in the full Appropriations committee as early as next week.

Wright said the letter was not a response to a direct threat by any senator to add such an amendment, adding: "It is a preemptive effort to try to dissuade any member who may be considering it."

"The broadcast industry's efforts to block what is otherwise a non-controversial, administrative procedure should be rejected," the groups said in the letter. "We urge Committee Members to oppose all efforts to place a rider on any appropriations measure that would delay or weaken the FCC's common sense update of a regulation that moves television stations' political files online."

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