A single television station has been granted a significant exception to the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming broadcast spectrum overhaul — a station whose operators made joint campaign contributions to a key lawmaker with oversight authority over the FCC.
House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat Henry Waxman — who oversees the FCC — received more than $12,000 in campaign contributions from three television executives in danger of losing broadcast rights after their company missed a crucial agency deadline. The company was subsequently granted the sole exception to the FCC’s rule.
“The timing of the campaign donations is very suspicious,” a source at the FCC familiar with the spectrum deliberations told The Daily Caller. “It appears that you can buy special favors from the FCC worth millions of dollars by giving money to Democrats. Would the result have been the same if the company’s executives were Republican donors? I doubt it.”
In May the FCC finalized plans to hold a spectrum incentive auction, the goal of which is to free up and transition broadcast television ultra-high frequency spectrum space over to the growing mobile broadband services market.
Starting sometime in mid-2015, TV broadcasters will have the opportunity to sell spectrum back to the commission, which will then re-sell it to wireless carriers. Broadcasters choosing not to sell will be repacked (or moved to different spectrum) in order to stay in business.
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