Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California criticized a hedge fund’s potential acquisition of numerous TV stations that operate outside of her district after her campaign received over $250,000 in donations from a media mogul and major Democratic donor who previously attempted to buy the stations.
Pelosi and Democratic New Jersey Rep. Frank Pallone sent a letter on Oct. 6 to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), expressing concerns that hedge fund Standard General’s $8.6 billion purchase of Tegna, a large broadcast news company, could hurt the public.
While there are no Tegna TV stations in Pelosi’s San Francisco congressional district, in 2021 she received $263,400 in donations from major TV producer Byron Allen, who attempted to buy Tegna in 2021, according to campaign finance records.
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“If she is helping out a major donor it doesn’t look good, quite frankly,” Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the left-leaning advocacy group Public Citizen, told the New York Post. “When it comes to campaign finance, this is often how it works … a donor gives money with the expectation of some return.”
Pelosi urged the FCC to scrutinize the deal to sell Tegna, which manages 64 stations across 51 domestic markets, arguing that it could raise prices for consumers, take jobs away and weaken local news outlets’ coverage, according to the letter. Standard General, which agreed to purchase Tegan in February, denied that it would get rid of jobs as it had already told the FCC that it would not do so, according to a response letter it sent to the Democrats.
Allen’s company, Allen Media Group, was going to cut expenses and jobs if it acquired Tegna, a source close to the company told the Post.
“Not true,” Allen told the Post. “I have close to 2,300 employees and during the pandemic, I did not lay off one worker.”
Allen’s donations to Democratic candidates and PACs “have nothing to do with Tegna and everything to do with protecting our democracy,” he told the Post.
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