House Dems call for new FCC probe into Sinclair

House Dems call for new FCC probe into Sinclair
© Getty

House Democrats are urging the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to investigate reports that the Sinclair Broadcast Group has conspired with other broadcasters to raise local advertising costs.

In a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai sent Tuesday, Reps. Frank Pallone Jr.Frank Joseph PalloneOvernight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union — Top Dems call for end to Medicaid work rules | Chamber launching ad blitz against Trump drug plan | Google offers help to dispose of opioids Top Dems call for end to Medicaid work rules after 18,000 lose coverage in Arkansas Top Dems blast administration's proposed ObamaCare changes MORE (D-N.J.) and Mike DoyleMichael (Mike) F. DoyleHillicon Valley: Lawmakers press officials on 2020 election security | T-Mobile, Sprint execs defend merger before Congress | Officials charge alleged Iranian spy | Senate panel kicks off talks on data security bill House Dems grill T-Mobile, Sprint execs on merger House members hint at bipartisan net neutrality bill MORE (D-Pa.), the top Democrats on the House committee overseeing the FCC, said that the commission should look into the possibility that Sinclair had conspired with Tribune Media, which it's trying to acquire.

“An FCC investigation is warranted in light of recent reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating whether the sales teams of Sinclair and Tribune were improperly coordinating regarding their advertising sales performance, resulting in higher rates,” the two Democrats wrote. “Moreover, Sinclair has a history of improperly exercising de facto control over stations it did not own, further supporting the need for review.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Pallone and Doyle said that such an investigation should be separate from the administrative law proceeding that the Sinclair-Tribune merger has been referred to after Pai said he had “serious concerns” about the deal.

That proceeding would likely dampen the $3.9 billion merger’s chances of approval.

A spokeswoman for Pai said the office has received the letter and is reviewing it.