FCC promises report on LPFM lobbying

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House Telecommunications Subcommittee Chairman Billy Tauzin (R-La.) said last week that the head of the FCC has agreed to provide a detailed account of the FCC's effort to assist congressional supporters of the agency's low-power radio initiative.

Tauzin charges that the FCC improperly lobbied lawmakers in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat legislation that would drastically curtail agency plans to create a new class of noncommercial FM stations with signals reaching only a few miles from their studio. Tauzin has called for a Justice Department investigation of the FCC's tactics.

Tauzin met with FCC Chairman William Kennard May 15 to discuss the matter.

At the meeting, Kennard agreed to spell out which personnel drafted talking points used by LPFM supporters, how the information was disseminated, how much time was spent on the information campaign, who supervised the operation and whether outside organizations were solicited to assist the campaign, according to a Tauzin spokesman.

"Billy believes this is an encouraging development," he said.

Tauzin has promised to protect the identity of agency personnel mentioned in the FCC's account. "This is not a witch hunt. [Tauzin] simply wants to put an end to agencies improperly, and in some cases illegally, lobbying Congress."

Kennard called the get-together a "positive meeting," but would not comment on the specifics of their talks.

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