Saturday, August 4, 2018

Report: Sinclair Beefs Up With Lobbysists

Sinclair Broadcast Group hired a group of Republican lobbyists last month as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) put its proposed merger with Tribune Media in jeopardy, according to The Hill citing disclosure forms released this week.

The filings show that Sinclair tapped the lobbyists to advocate for the embattled merger on June 19, three days after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai (R) said he had "serious concerns" about the deal and would be referring it to an administrative law proceeding.

The group of five lobbyists from the S-3 Group included three aides to former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), including his one-time chief of staff, Rob Collins.

The hire is notable for the conservative-leaning media company, which had not hired an outside lobbyist since 2000. Sinclair typically relies on industry trade groups like the National Association of Broadcasters to advocate for its interests.

The hires may be too late to save the $3.9 billion Tribune deal.

On the day that Sinclair hired the group, the FCC released an order accusing the company of trying to mislead regulators about several proposed sidecar deals aimed at bringing the combined broadcasting giant into compliance with media ownership restrictions.

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