Sinclair Broadcasting Group

FCC chair says White House lawyer asked about status of Sinclair deal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House's top lawyer made contact with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai to inquire about its review of the purchase of Tribune Media stations by the conservative broadcaster Sinclair, Pai told a Senate committee on Thursday.

Why it matters: The FCC — and merger reviews generally — are supposed to be independent from the White House. Pai explained, "no one has called from the White House to express a view. We received one status inquiry."

Sinclair could lose more than just Tribune

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sinclair Broadcasting’s failed effort to buy Tribune Media may soon become more than just a costly embarrassment. It could result in the company ultimately losing its broadcast licenses.

Bottom line: The conservative broadcaster has been accused of lying to the FCC, and of acting in bad faith with Tribune.