Two members of the House of Representatives are calling for an investigation into whether Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has been improperly clearing regulatory hurdles for the Sinclair Broadcast Group’s pending acquisition of Tribune Media, The Hill reports.
“Reps. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) sent a letter to the FCC inspector general on Monday, asking that he probe whether Chairman Ajit Pai has been clearing the way for the $3.9 billion deal,” the story reports.
Cummings and Pallone, the top Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Energy and Commerce Committee, respectively, wrote in the letter: “We request that you examine how the FCC has conducted its business with regard to Sinclair.”
The Hill adds: “Their letter cites a list of deregulatory moves that the FCC has taken this year that have benefited Sinclair in its goal of expanding its massive holdings of local television stations across the country.”
The report also notes: “Sinclair is the largest owner of local television broadcasters in the U.S., and if its Tribune purchase is approved by the FCC, the media conglomerate will be able to reach more than two-thirds of the nation’s television audience — far exceeding the current 39 percent limit.”