At “the end of the year, in a previously undisclosed move, the top internal watchdog for the Federal Communications Commission opened an investigation into whether [FCC Chairman Ajit] Pai and his aides had improperly pushed for rule changes and whether they had timed them to benefit Sinclair [Broadcasting], according to Representative Frank Pallone of New Jersey and two congressional aides,” reports The New York Times.
The Times explains that last April Pai “led the charge for his agency to approve rules allowing television broadcasters to greatly increase the number of stations they own. A few weeks later, Sinclair Broadcasting announced a blockbuster $3.9 billion deal to buy Tribune Media — a deal those new rules made possible.”
Pallone, who is the highest-ranking Democrat on the committee that oversees the FCC, told The Times in a statement: “For months I have been trying to get to the bottom of the allegations about Chairman Pai’s relationship with Sinclair Broadcasting. I am grateful to the FCC’s inspector general that he has decided to take up this important investigation.”
The Times also notes: “It was unclear the extent of the inspector general’s investigation or when it might conclude.”
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