Economy

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Under Investigation By Inspector General

FCC Chair Ajit Pai Under Investigation By Inspector General

The newspaper says Representative Frank Pallone, a Democrat from New Jersey, confirmed, along with two congressional aides, that the FCC's office of inspector general had opened an investigation previous year into Pai's dealings with Sinclair.

"I am grateful to the FCC's Inspector General that he has made a decision to take up this important investigation", the lawmaker added.

The New York Times reported last August that Pai and his staff met with Sinclair executives on several occasions.

The inspector general wants to know whether Ajit Pai improperly pushed through rules in an effort to benefit the Sinclair Broadcast Group, according to The New York Times on Thursday.

Chairman Pai has yet to comment on the inspector general investigation. Frank Pallone of New Jersey told TheNYT. "The Chairman has repeatedly refused to answer these inquiries, raising questions about whether he is appropriately following Commission rules", they told Hunt in their November request for an investigation. What may have not been, however, is a mega media deal that Pai made possible a year ago.

This story was updated at 10:56 p.m. He also moved the Commission to pass new rules that benefited Sinclair's technology patents.

More news: Why Investors remained confident on CenturyLink, Inc. (CTL), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM)?

While Pai has maintained that the rule changes were in no way meant to benefit Sinclair specifically, other lawmakers have called into question the FCC chairman's motivations for rolling back the restrictions. "The Chairman is sticking to his long-held views, and given the strong case for modernizing these rules, it's not surprising that those who disagree with him would prefer to do whatever they can to distract from the merits of his proposals".

The internal watchdog is reportedly looking into whether Pai and his closest aides inappropriately supported media ownership rule changes in order to benefit Sinclair Broadcasting, a conservative media conglomerate that was ready to, and ultimately purchased, Tribune Media for $3.9 billion. A few weeks later, Sinclair announced plans to buy Tribune media, which would make it the largest owner of broadcast stations in the country.

Pai has said the review has been by the book, and he has long argued for deregulating broadcasting and that the UHF discount should be looked at in tandem with the 39 percent ownership cap, including whether an analog discount should replace it, though he has also suggested the UHF discount was an anachronism.

Meanwhile, the FCC has stopped the informal shot clock on its vetting of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger while it awaits action by the Department of Justice.

The acquisition is still pending but the shadow of an ongoing investigation is likely to delay it even further. It regularly updates Congress on some investigations but doesn't confirm or deny investigations.


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