FCC Chair Under Investigation By Own Agency, Says Report

Inspector General Conducting Probe of Timing of FCC Actions and Sinclair Deal

The IG will "investigate whether FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his aides improperly pushed for rule changes to benefit Sinclair Broadcasting in the company's attempt to purchase Tribune Media", Pallone's office said in a press release today.

This loosening of broadcast-ownership rules came after press reports that Pai had conducted meetings with Sinclair executives days after the November 8, 2016 presidential election, and then again off FCC grounds days before Trump appointed him to chair the FCC. "It was unclear the extent of the inspector general's investigation or when it might conclude, but the inquiry puts a spotlight on Mr. Pai's decisions and whether there had been coordination with the company".

"For many years, Chairman Pai has called on the F.C.C.to update its media ownership regulations", the FCC spokesman said.

One month later Sinclair announced it would pay $3.9bn for rival Tribune Media and its 42 television stations dotted across the USA, adding to its 173 existing stations.

Pallone's spokesman confirmed a report in the New York Times, which first reported the FCC inspector general's probe into Pai's actions on rules affecting the proposed deal in which Sinclair Broadcasting, the largest United States broadcast television group, is seeking to buy Tribune Media Co.

Pai has maintained that the rule changes were under consideration before the Sinclair merger.

Free Press wants "Pai and any other FCC staff subject to this inquiry [to] recuse themselves from all dealings related to Sinclair's proposed takeover of Tribune Media", González said.

Sinclair's merger is still awaiting approval from the Justice Department and the FCC. The office of the FCC's nonpartisan inspector general didn't comment on "the existence or the nonexistence of an investigation" to The New York Times.

Pai has rolled back a number of decisions of his predecessor, Tom Wheeler, that he opposed and criticized at the time they were approved, including 2014 guidance on how the FCC would treat joint sales agreements and sharing arrangements between noncommonly owned stations; restoring the FCC's UHF discount; and two proposals scheduled for a vote this week (Nov. 16) - potentially eliminating or loosening some media ownership limits, and allowing for the rollout of ATSC 3.0 transmissions.

Some members of Congress have asked Pai for such communications, but he has not responded.

Both Sinclair and the FCC have declined to comment on the current investigation but called the original allegations "baseless". The FCC officials told the aides that they would open an investigation, according to four people with knowledge of the meetings.

The New Jersey lawmaker, Democratic Rep.

An investigation could take a year or more, sources said.

The investigation shouldn't derail or slow the agency's review of its acquisition of Tribune, Bloomberg analyst Matthew Schettenhelm said in a note Thursday.

The FCC in the spring said it would no longer count UHF stations in the formula. The agency is waiting for Sinclair to propose divestitures that could resolve concerns about whether the enlarged company would exceed ownership caps, he said.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Snag a PlayStation VR Bundle for $200
Feb 17, 2018 - 01:28
Sony is slashing the prices on its PSVR headsets and bundles by US$100, bringing its starting price down below US$200 once more. This swelling pack will be on display with $100 price cut so Skyrim fans on the PS4 will find the deal sufficiently tempting.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top This Top Apple Supplier Could Lose in Upcoming iPhones
Feb 17, 2018 - 01:23
Opening a message containing the character is enough to crash Apple's system that manages the home screen, called iOS Springboard. Update: Apple said it'll fix this iOS 11 glitch, so prepare for another software update between now and iOS 11 .3.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Amy Schumer And Chris Fischer Get Married In Secret Before Valentine's Day!
Feb 17, 2018 - 01:19
Fashion.ie features Fashion news, Irish fashion news, entertainment news, Celebrity news, Online shopping and Irish fashion. Schumer also shared several photos on Instagram Stories, captioning the posts with her wedding date, February 13.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Steam's Lunar New Year sale is supposed to kick off today
Feb 17, 2018 - 01:18
The combination of filters and sort-orders users pick will also automatically save and apply next time the Wishlist is accessed. The Wishlist can also be sorted by tags or genres, so now Steam displays the top-ranked tags for each item on the list.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Woman in India 'marries' twice posing as man to get dowry
Feb 17, 2018 - 01:16
According to the police, she told the Uttarakhand woman, known as Kamini, that she was the son of a businessman from Aligarh. In an interrogation with police, the accused revealed that she has been a tomboy since childhood and pretended to be a boy.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Edgbaston Awarded 31-Day Programme of Major Match Cricket 2020
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:04
That cycle includes an Ashes Test in 2023, while the club has also been chosen as a host venue for the new, eight-team T20 competition that starts in 2020.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Seven CPM members arrested for allegedly attacking pregnant woman, causing her abortion
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:03
Seven people have been arrested in connection with the case, whereas the main accused is still absconding. The report added that the family has also alleged party members had pressurised them to withdraw the case.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Zimbabwe - Death of former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (14 February 2018)
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:03
He won the election with 47% of the vote against Mugabe's 43% but he fell short of the threshold needed to be sworn in. The former prime minister was one of former President Robert Mugabe's worst critics.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Apple HomePod Owners, Beware: The Smart Speaker May Damage Wooden Furniture
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:03
The silicone pad on the bottom of Apple's expensive new smart speaker is leaving unsightly white rings on wooden surfaces. The tech giant adds that the marks should disappear "after several days" or after they've been wiped with a cloth.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Two Eastern Carolina restaurant owners semifinalists for Best Chef Southeast
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:02
As reported by the New York Times , 40 percent of the nominees are women this year, up from 27 percent last year. In the past, Central Florida has had a solid contingent each year of local chefs nominated for the category.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Shows Willingness To Raise Fuel Taxes
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:02
More than 30 states have raised their gasoline or other taxes in recent years to try to meet infrastructure needs. Tom Carper, a Democrat from DE who attended the meeting and has advocated for gradually increasing the levy.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bengals' AJ McCarron wins grievance, will become free agent
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:02
The team put him on that list again on August 30, 2014, which meant he would miss at least the first six games of the season. With regards to his new-found free agency, McCarron called it a "blessing", while saying he'd be "open to everything".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Oxfam admits 'serious error' after re-hiring man sacked over Haiti misconduct
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:01
It is alleged that the organisation's money was used for this goal . He was then hired by Oxfam as a country director in Chad.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Should Treat Women 'With More Respect', Say Bill and Melinda Gates
Feb 16, 2018 - 07:00
Wealth opens doors that are closed to most people, Melinda Gates wrote. On one level, I think the answer is obviously no.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Take it slow: linger over your lunch to lose weight, says study
Feb 15, 2018 - 02:37
The study linked changing behaviours, including eating speed, to a lower chance of obesity and a shrinking waistline. Skipping breakfast did not seem to have any effect.