Sen. Cruz and Rep. McMorris Rogers urge FCC inspector general to investigate response…

Washington DC – Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), a leading member of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, and Kathy McMorris Rogers (R-Washington), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced today that the Federal Communications Commission’s Inspector General I sent a letter to a representative requesting that an investigation be launched. FCC Chairman Jessica Rosenworthell’s unprecedented actions in the Standard General and TEGNA deal, including its decision to have the FCC’s Media Office designate the deal for an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) hearing. , whether motivated by a biased desire to block the transaction.

Senator Cruz and Rep. McMorris Rogers wrote:

“As Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and ranking member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee (the “Senate Commerce Committee”), we urge you, as Acting Inspector General of the Federal Communications Commission, to: write a letter requesting (“FCC”) issued an unprecedented action by Commissioner Jessica Rosenworthell in response to Standard General’s proposed acquisition of TEGNA (the “Standard General and TEGNA Transaction”), specifically to the FCC’s Media Office for Standard • Investigate the decision to have General and TEGNA’s transactions forwarded to government agencies. Law Judge (“ALJ”). At least five aspects of her decision and the circumstances surrounding it suggest that the decision was motivated by a biased desire to scrap her TEGNA deal with the Standard General. If that’s true, the FCC is acting as a partisan stick rather than fulfilling its mandate to ensure a robust and competitive market.

Sen. Cruz and Rep. McMorris-Rogers have called for an investigation, saying the real reason underlying Chairman Rosenworthell’s unilateral decision to send the Standard General and TEGNA deal to the ALJ is to move the deal forward. He listed five key points that suggest a biased desire to stop write in:

“beginning, Chairman Rosenworthel declined to engage with the applicant prior to the issuance of a Designated Hearing Order (“HDO”) by the Media Office. During the months-long Department of Justice (“DOJ”) review of the transaction between Standard General and TEGNA, FCC staff told Standard General that if the Department of Justice review was completed, the applicant would be notified that the application would not be filed. We understand that you have repeatedly notified us of your permission. It’s time to deal with them. But after the Department of Justice completed its review without raising any objections, the FCC went radio silent. The media outlet reportedly rejected or ignored 16 attempts to engage by Standard General in the three months prior to HDO’s publication. During the same period, the FCC, including the Media Bureau, held at least eight meetings with individuals and groups opposing the Standard General and TEGNA deal.

“No. 2, the very decision to refer such a large transaction to the ALJ without a committee-level vote is extraordinary. This is the first time the FCC has designated an ALJ hearing for a transaction of this size that antitrust regulators did not challenge. Neither of the two reasons the FCC justifies doing so — the potential impact on broadcasters’ jobs and retransmission consent rates — has ever been put forward as a basis for blocking broadcast license transfers. Moreover, the Commission’s own internal standards restrict the Media Office from taking such novel actions under its delegated authority.

“The third, the HDO has conveniently extended FCC review beyond the 15-month acquisition period for Standard General-TEGNA transactions. If the FCC had processed the Standard General-TEGNA transaction on the same schedule as all other comparable transactions (none of which have been designated for public hearings), he would have had less than six months to complete the review within the acquisition period. would have been completed.

“the 4th, FCC staff provided misinformation regarding the process by which the ALJ designation could be revoked. When chairman Rosenworthell’s staff briefed the bipartisan staff of the Senate Commerce Committee, he said there was no mechanism to withdraw the HDO or bring the matter before the entire FCC for a decision. This statement was misleading at best. At least two of his FCC rules allow immediate revocation of his HDO announced under delegated authority, and the chairman can put his HDO up for vote at any time.

“Fifth, and finallyChairman Rosenworthel declined to respond to reasonable Congressional questions about the deal. On April 5, 2023, we sent a letter to Chairman Rosenworthel requesting a response regarding his decision to send the Standard General and TEGNA transaction to the ALJ for consideration without a committee-level vote. I was. Her reply to our letter was satisfactory only in respect of meeting the deadline. She was unable to answer most of the questions, pending legal issues prevented her from responding, and she selectively lost her word before congressional scrutiny, she claimed. ”

You can read the full letter here.

In previous letters, Sen. Cruz and Rep. McMorris Rogers provided information explaining why the FCC violated the commission’s rules and the precedent of sending a transaction to the ALJ for review without a committee-level vote. asked.


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