Taxpayer Funded Lobbying: NPR Hires Lobbyists

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According to The Hill, NPR has hired lobbyists to represent both the public broadcasting organization and their member stations before Congress. “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies,” said an NPR spokeswoman noting that the lobbyists were hired to “explain how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”

NPR is claiming that no federal funds are being used for the lobbying efforts, which is good because the expenditure of federal funds for lobbying is illegal for a lot of excellent reasons, but does anyone really buy that?

Public broadcasting gets a lot of private-sector support, but money is fungible. NPR and public broadcasting in general is heavily subsidized by the taxpayers, and the lobbyists in question are in Washington to keep the federal funds flowing.

As a practical matter, we have a taxpayer funded organization lobbying for more tax dollars (or, at least, sustained tax dollars).

That doesn’t pass the smell test for me.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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