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Lawmakers Shy Away From Broadcasters Gathering

Apr 17, 2006  •  Post A Comment

Most top lawmakers are taking a pass on the National Association of Broadcasters convention this year, and industry insiders speculate that their conspicuous absence might have something to do with lobbying reform legislation currently under consideration by Congress.

The only lawmaker expected to attend this year’s conference, according to the NAB, is Rep. Shelley Berkley, D-Nev., whose district includes Las Vegas, where the conference is being held.

A half-dozen key lawmakers, including Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, and Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., attended last year’s session, before lobbying scandals broke on Capitol Hill.

“There’s no question that [lawmakers] are laying low,” said Jeff Chester, executive director of the watchdog Center for Digital Democracy.

Still, all four of the Federal Communications Commission’s sitting commissioners will be in attendance at NAB, with FCC Chairman Kevin Martin speaking during a breakfast session Tuesday, April 25.

The other commissioners-Deborah Taylor Tate, Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein-are slated to participate in a panel session that same afternoon.

This year’s NAB convention will be held April 24-27.