Last updated: April 25, 2012 - 8:27am
In the U.S., most media deals must receive a green light from the Federal Communications Commission, which regulates television, cellphone and satellite airwaves as well as cable lines. Lobbyists generally must file notices when they talk to FCC commissioners or FCC staff on a pending deal or other proceeding that is before the agency.
Those notices have to be filed within a few days of the meeting and must disclose the date of the conversation, who was in the meeting and what was discussed. They are made public through an FCC database. Companies don't have to provide detailed specifics about their conversations, although some do. It isn't uncommon for company lawyers and lobbyists to pick up details about what the FCC is considering on deals or other proceedings. Veteran FCC lobbyists often can get information from agency officials they have interacted with in the past. And it wouldn't be surprising if a company lobbyist told his bosses about information he was picking up from regulators, although such internal company communications would rarely become public.
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