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NAB Contacted by Rep.Issa About Eliminating Regs

The new sheriff on the Hill has apparently sought the counsel of broadcasters on what regs they would like to see deep-sixed, but has not yet made the same request of a key cable operator trade group.

According to a source familiar with the letter, the National Association of Broadcasters was one of some 150 or so associations and individuals contacted by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), incoming chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

The source said that the letter asked for suggestions on eliminating regulations that could take a toll on jobs. "NAB
received a letter from Chairman Issa, and we look forward to responding," confirmed NAB spokesman Dennis Wharton.

If NAB President Gordon Smith, himself a former senator, wants to lobby directly against specific regulations, he is free to do so now that he is no longer under a lobbying restriction for former legislators.

Issa has confirmed reports Wednesday that he had reached out to trade groups and others, telling CNN correspondent Dana Bash in an interview Wednesday that there was nothing untoward about asking businesses what regulations they would like to get rid of. Some Democrats have criticized what they see as assembling a deregulatory wish list from industry.

Rather than making such inquiries behind closed doors or at fund-raisers, Boehner said Wednesday, the Republicans were doing it in the open as part of an open government effort and "just the opposite" of business as usual.

A spokesman for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association says it was not contacted by Issa.

Among the regulations in House Republicans' sites is the FCC's newly-minted network neutrality rules, though they will not take effect for a couple more months at least. They must first be published in the Federal Register--which could trigger Republican congressional action--but would still not take effect until 60 days after the Office of Management and Budgets signals--also in the Register--that the rules do not create unnecessary paperwork.