Report Slams 'Incestuous' Relationship Between FCC and Broadcasters

FCC officials have taken more than 2,500 trips over the past eight years paid for by the broadcasting and telecom industries the agency regulates, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Among those footing the bill was NAB.
Many of the trips were paid for either by the broadcasting, cable and consumer electronics industries, or taxpayers, states the report by the watchdog group. The document is released as the FCC moves to further relax media ownership rules at a meeting scheduled for June 2.
"The report ... reveals just how incestuous the relationship is between the FCC and the broadcasting and cable industries it is supposed to regulate," said Charles Lewis, the organizations executive director. "The idea that the FCC can render an objective, independent judgment about media ownership is laughable."
FCC officials have noted they have a limited travel budget.
The study quotes Robert Pepper, chief of the FCC's Office of Plans and Policy, as saying industry-paid travel is a second-best option in tight fiscal times.
Las Vegas, site of conventions hosted by NAB and CEA, is the top trip destination at 330 trips, followed by New Orleans at 173 trips, according to the report. Third was New York with 102 trips and fourth on the list was London, which FCC officials visited 98 times. Other destinations included Orlando, San Francisco, Miami, Anchorage, Palm Springs, Buenos Aires and Beijing.
The NAB paid for the most trips at, $191,472, followed by NCTA at $172,636 and CEA at $149,285.
The watchdog group compiled information by studying travel records for FCC employees. The report is online at