Statement on FCC Inspector General’s Investigation of Ajit Pai

Advocates call on Pai to recuse from Sinclair-Tribune merger review given investigation into possible bias

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Kurt Walters, 202-630-0299, [email protected]

Washington, DC – Today, news broke that the Federal Communications Commission Inspector General has launched an investigation into suspiciously timed actions by FCC Chair Ajit Pai and his aides that benefited Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Internet freedom advocacy group Demand Progress applauds the news and is now calling for Ajit Pai to recuse himself from review of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger given the existence of this investigation. The following statement is attributable to Campaign Director Kurt Walters:

“From his anti-consumer repeal of net neutrality rules to his sweetheart treatment of Sinclair, the American public has plenty of reason to doubt whether Ajit Pai is working for them. He appears relentlessly focused on padding the profit margins of politically connected corporations, regardless of the impact on consumers.

“The inspector general should be applauded for this prudent investigation into Ajit Pai’s seemingly biased actions to benefit Sinclair’s takeover bid for Tribune Media.

“This investigation makes it crystal clear: Pai must recuse himself from review of the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger. To ensure the integrity of the FCC’s review process, the commission should take no action on this mega-merger until the conclusion of the inspector general’s investigation.”

Previously, Demand Progress delivered more than 90,000 petition signatures to the FCC’s Office of the Inspector General calling for an investigation into Ajit Pai’s “improper favoritism” and “sweetheart treatment” of Sinclair Broadcast Group. (The full petition text is available here and here.)

Demand Progress’s membership has energetically opposed Sinclair’s harmful takeover of Tribune Media. More than 35,000 members filed public comments urging the FCC to block the merger and 60,000 have called on the Department of Justice to do the same.

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