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FCC Chair Under Investigation by Inspector General

by Countable | 2.20.18

What’s the story?

The inspector general of the Federal Communications Commission is investigating whether the agency’s chairman, Ajit Pai, improperly used his ties to benefit Sinclair Broadcasting.

Why does it matter?

In April, Pai relaxed FCC rules about the number of stations television broadcasters could own. Soon after, Sinclair Broadcasting announced a $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media.

In November, Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) requested an investigation into whether Pai and his aides "improperly pushed for rule changes to benefit Sinclair Broadcasting in the company's attempt to purchase Tribune Media."

"For months I have been trying to get to the bottom of the allegations about Chairman Pai’s relationship with Sinclair Broadcasting," Pallone, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said in a statement. “I am grateful to the FCC’s inspector general that he has decided to take up this important investigaion.”

The FCC and Sinclair have not commented on the inspector general investigation. However, when the investigation was originally requested in November, Pai’s office released this statement:

"For many years, Chairman Pai has called on the FCC to update its media ownership regulations—one of which dates back to 1975. 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."

What do you think?

Do you support the investigation? Should Congress launch their own investigation of the Sinclair merger? Hit Take Action and tell your reps, then share your thoughts below.

—Josh Herman

Related Reading

(Photo Credit: USDA via Flickr)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(70)
  • DavisTrev
    02/20/2018
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    This deal by Ajit Pai stinks like a rotting fish carcass. So did his push to destroy net neutrality. This guy is caught being bought. Lock him up.

    Like (34)
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  • Joanne
    02/20/2018
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    YES both Pai and Sinclair need to be deeply and throughly Investigated immediately!!! By Congress and everyone else. They are trying to take our Freedom of Speech away and must be stopped!!!

    Like (24)
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  • gwenhutch
    02/20/2018
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    Investigate Pai and his motives, between this and his push to end net neutrality it wouldn't be hard to doubt that there is more lurking in the swamp. We don't need more corruption, sort this out.

    Like (22)
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  • Robert
    02/20/2018
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    How many are left in this administration that are not under investigation???

    Like (18)
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  • I.Got.an.Idea...
    02/20/2018
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    While you are investigating, look at his entire program for violating ethics policies. Take down this Republican propagandist regime. They are all guilty of ethics violations. Clear the swamp.

    Like (14)
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  • NoHedges
    02/20/2018
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    Not only should Mr Pai leave, every corrupt Senator who confirmed this man should pack their bags as well. You failed to uphold your oath of office. It was your responsibility to see that this man was properly vetted and even amongst the bipartisan cries of the of the nation you chose to confirm him. His fate should be your fate as well.

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  • Countryfirst
    02/20/2018
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    Is anyone surprised?! All of these trump appointees/ confirmed/elected corrupt money grubbing republicans need to be gone!! The cowards who allowed it to happen need to be gone too and definitely the orange haired buffoon in charge needs to lead the way! Worst president and cabinet ever!!

    Like (12)
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  • Niki
    02/20/2018
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    The Sinclair merger should never have been allowed. It concentrates too much power in the media marketplace. Since Sinclair’s purpose is propaganda, it should not be allowed to absorb independent media outlets and force them to act as propaganda outlets. The merger infringes on freedom of the press and the right of American audiences to have access to varied viewpoints. Many of Sinclair’s small markets do not have alternative information sources. FCC obviously needs different leadership that will protect the rights of our citizens.

    Like (11)
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  • John
    02/20/2018
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    Yes, Pai should be investigated.

    Like (11)
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  • J. scott
    02/20/2018
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    Apparently, just another Trump appointed ideological wacko without qualifications beyond greed and being an irredeemable sycophant for the position he’s filling. Good riddance - the sooner he’s indicted the better.

    Like (10)
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  • NoHedges
    02/20/2018
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    His part in removing Net Neutrality needs to be "rolled backed" until the investigation is completed. Obviously, he is just as corrupt as the rest of Trump's administration. This is why the people don't care about HIllary Clinton role in the 2016 elections. It is hard to notice an upset stomach when your hemorrhaging. Clinton actions may be upsetting, but Trumps on going corruption is causing ongoing and continual.

    Like (9)
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  • Chickie
    02/20/2018
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    About time! FCC chair Ajit Pai has STRONG ties to the Sinclair Broadcast Group, (SBG), which is an enormous conflict of interest. SBG is an influential communications company who is totally tilted left and has acquired hundreds of local news channels through their purchase of Tribune. What’s the big deal? SBG sends their affiliates segments which they are required to air. This includes having local newscasters report ‘Could the FBI have a personal vendetta against #45?’ The local news channels air segments that endorse the Republican Party by airing crazy lies about Democratic candidates. SBG has an estimated viewership of 2.2 million people. Pai’s is in tight collusion with SBG. Should his ties with SBG indicate Pai agrees with their position? Would his close ties cause him to share information with SBG to their benefit and in the end, his own? Worth my taxpayer money to investigate.

    Like (7)
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  • RadicalModerate
    02/21/2018
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    I support capital punishment for political corruption. When your representatives enrich themselves to the detriment of their constituents, communities suffer. Corruption makes you an accessory to murder, rape, robbery, child abuse, neglect etc.

    Like (5)
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  • BeStrong
    02/20/2018
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    Pai, (Mr Kill Net Neutrality) created a loophole for Sinclair Broadcasting to buy ($3.9 BILLION) their way into 72% of our programming. Pai reinstated the ‘UHF’ rule which permits a near monopoly over our airwaves, at the moment the Sinclair deal became viable. Control the airwaves, control the news, control democracy. It’s about time that this guy was investigated.

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  • carolkravetz
    02/20/2018
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    I support an investigation into Ajai Pai’s ties to Sinclair. The reason the 1975 rule exists is because of this very possibility. If Sinclair buys Tribune Media, they will be the most powerful voice in America. They will own more stations, have more control of the message that I believe will twist this country further towards oligarchy and fascism. No one company should have a monopoly over the American people. Ajai Pai is as fraudulent as 45 and I don’t trust him as far as could throw him. Investigate and stop his radical ideas.

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  • Marylynn
    02/20/2018
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    An in-depth investigation needs to take place and if any wrong doing is found then Mr. Pai needs to be held accountable and if that means losing his job, so be it. If he does lose his job, he can't be rewarded with a huge payout for being fired. It's high time all these wheeler dealers should be removed from their federally paid jobs.

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  • JamisonH
    02/20/2018
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    To say the level of corruption in this administration is shocking would be an understatement.

    Like (3)
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  • Dewayne
    02/20/2018
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    Investigate all Trump appointees!!! They are all trying to cripple our democracy.

    Like (3)
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  • Patty
    02/20/2018
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    Pai should be investigated, and any power to make decisions suspended until or if he’s cleared of corruption.

    Like (3)
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  • August
    02/20/2018
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    This is a very serious matter. The fact he is under investigation by the IG dept. , he has compromised his integrity, and needs to step down.

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