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NPR hires lobbyists as GOP targets public broadcasting funds

National Public Radio has hired the lobbying firm Navigators Global, according to disclosure forms filed Thursday.

NPR has come under fire from some Republican lawmakers who want to cut off all federal funding to the nonprofit media organization. 

Dana Rehm, an NPR spokeswoman, explained that in addition to being a national radio service, NPR is also a trade organization representing its local member stations. She noted that no federal funds are being used to pay for the lobbying firm.

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"It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies," she said.

The organization has a Policy and Representation department that has been advocating on behalf of NPR for decades, according to Rehm.

"At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected," she said.

She said NPR hired lobbyists to "explain how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress."


House Republicans are advancing a spending bill through committee that would defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CFPB) to "encourage" NPR and PBS to become privately financed.

CPB would still have funding in the next fiscal year, but it would run dry quickly after that.

The bill will be part of the fiscal 2013 negotiations with the Senate in the fall, even if it never reaches the House floor.


Erik Wasson contributed.

— Updated at 3:12 p.m.