Demand Progress

Sign the petition: Investigate FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s corrupt dealmaking!

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    Sign the petition: Investigate FCC Chair Ajit Pai’s corrupt dealmaking!

    Petition to the FCC Inspector General:
    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai appears to be showing improper favoritism towards Sinclair Broadcast Group, changing rules to speed through its merger with Tribune Media instead of protecting the public interest. Please open an investigation into Pai’s sweetheart treatment of Sinclair.

    “A disturbing pattern of a three-way quid pro quo involving Sinclair, the Trump administration and Chairman Ajit Pai.”1

    That’s what a letter from 15 senators called FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s behavior regarding the Sinclair-Tribune merger.

    The clock is ticking on the FCC’s self-imposed deadline for making a decision on the merger. If the FCC approves this deal, it will give Trump TV reach into more than 70% of the local TV market.

    From the beginning, Chairman Pai has been eager to roll out the red carpet for Sinclair and grease the wheels to enable this merger to happen.

    So eager, in fact, that we’re calling on the Inspector General of the FCC to investigate Chairman Pai for making rule changes specifically to benefit Sinclair.

    Sign the petition: Tell the FCC Inspector General to investigate Ajit Pai for corrupt deals that benefit Trump TV.

    In one of his first acts as FCC Chair, Pai scrapped a rule that allowed media companies to own multiple TV stations so long as their market share didn’t exceed 39% nationwide. In other words, if Pai hadn’t gotten rid of that rule, this merger wouldn’t even be possible.

    Sinclair Broadcast Group, once an unknown company to most Americans outside the television and media industry, burst into the American consciousness when it was revealed in 2016 that the Trump campaign brokered a deal for exclusive access for Sinclair in exchange for favorable coverage.

    Once in the Oval Office, Donald Trump returned the favor by meeting with Sinclair’s CEO to discuss “potential FCC rule changes.”2

    What’s worse – Ajit Pai – who as Chair of the FCC is supposed to be working in the public interest, had an off-the-record meeting with the Sinclair CEO days after Trump was elected. He met with Sinclair executives two more times – once right before meeting with Trump, and once right after.3

    If that’s not cause for investigating Pai for collusion with companies he’s supposed to be regulating, we’re not sure what is.

    The Sinclair–Tribune merger provides no public benefit – it will only give Trump a bigger platform for his dangerous rhetoric and destructive agenda while leaving consumers with fewer choices. It cannot be allowed to move forward while there is any question as to whether Pai acted in the public interest, or acted specifically to benefit Sinclair.

    Tell the FCC Inspector General: Investigate Chairman Pai for sweetheart deals to benefit Sinclair.

    1. Senator Maria Cantwell, “Letter to Inspector General,” November 15, 2017.
    2. New York Post, “Sinclair is close to buying all of Tribune’s TV stations,” March 14, 2017.
    3. Senator Maria Cantwell, “Letter to Inspector General,” November 15, 2017.