Media Critics Seek to Delay Pai's Reconfirmation

Say questions about Sinclair-Tribune vetting need answering first

Media consolidation and deregulation critics are trying to prevent FCC chair Ajit Pai from being confirmed for a new term, tying it to what they say are continuing questions about the FCC's handling of the Sinclair-Tribune merger, plus their concerns about the merger itself.

Pai's term expired in June 2016, but he can continue to serve until the end of 2017. (The story initially said he could serve until the end of 2018, which was incorrect).

Allied Progress, IBEW Broadcasting, Latino Victory Project, and CREDO Action said Republicans are trying to "rush" reconfirmation through in the next few weeks.

Democrats in Congress stalled a reconfirmation fast-track vote for Pai last month.  At the time, a September recorded vote on his renomination was expected.

But the groups want Democrats to continue trying to block the confirmation, linking it to the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger and saying the reconfirmation should not come "while so many unanswered questions remain."

"Democrats should oppose the Republican efforts to rush Pai’s reconfirmation and continue to push for Congressional hearings to understand the impact of this proposed merger and other critical issues under the FCC’s control," they said.

Some Democrats in Congress suggested Pai may have taken actions to aide Sinclair's merger, but Pai told them in a letter released this week that was not the case.