Hill panels look at campaign spending, spectrum


The marquee event for broadcasters on Capitol Hill during the second week of March is beyond any doubt the Senate Commerce Committee’s examination of the proposed merger of Comcast and NBCU. However, there are also events of interest being held in the Senate Judiciary and the House Commerce Committees.

The Judiciary Committee, under Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will take a look at the recent Supreme Court Citizen’s United ruling. The fact that Leahy seems to join most Democrats in taking a dim view of the ruling may be surmised by a look at the title of the event: “We the People? Corporate Spending in American Elections after Citizens United.” The hearing is on the books for Wednesday 3/10/10 at 10AM.

Witnesses include Jeffrey Rosen of The George Washington University Law School; Doug Kendall of the Constitutional Accountability Center and Bradley A. Smith of the Center for Competitive Politics and the Capital University Law School.

At the same time, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will be marking up a pair of bills of peripheral interest to broadcasters: H.R. 3125, the Radio Spectrum Inventory Act; H.R. 3019, the Spectrum Relocation Improvement Act of 2009. The latter bill does not provide for the repurposing of broadcast spectrum for broadband purposes.