WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Federal Communications Fee’s inspector basic concluded there was no proof of impropriety regarding the proposed – and now defunct – merger of Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBGI.O) and Tribune Media Co (TRCO.N), the U.S. regulator’s chairman stated in a press release on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Ajit Pai, Chairman of the Federal Communications Fee, testifies earlier than a Senate Appropriations Monetary Providers and Basic Authorities Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 20, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Picture

Two U.S. Home Democrats in November final 12 months requested the FCC inspector basic to probe whether or not FCC Chairman Ajit Pai was biased in favor of Sinclair, which is in search of approval of a $3.9 billion acquisition of Tribune.

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In a press release, Pai stated he was happy with the discovering, including that the suggestion that he favored anyone firm was “absurd.”

U.S. Representatives Elijah Cummings and Frank Pallone cited FCC choices that benefited Sinclair, the biggest U.S. tv broadcast group, and a 2016 information report that the presidential marketing campaign of President Donald Trump had struck a cope with Sinclair for favorable media protection.

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“I’m happy that the Workplace of Inspector Basic has concluded that there was ‘no proof, nor even the suggestion, of impropriety, unscrupulous conduct, favoritism towards Sinclair, or lack of impartiality associated to the proposed Sinclair-Tribune merger,’” Pai stated.

The FCC Workplace of Inspector Basic has not but launched the report, nevertheless, and a spokeswoman for Pai stated the report’s launch was on the discretion of the inspector basic.

Sinclair introduced plans in Could 2017 to amass Tribune’s 42 tv stations in 33 U.S. markets in addition to cable community WGN America, extending its attain to 72 % of American households.

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However the deal was scuttled earlier this month after the Republican-led FCC expressed opposition to the deal, when it questioned Sinclair’s candor over the deliberate sale of some stations, suggesting that Sinclair would successfully retain management over them.

(The story corrects date in paragraph 4 to 2016, not 2017.)

Reporting by Chris Sanders, Ginger Gibson and David Shepardson; Enhancing by Dan Grebler and G Crosse

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