Congressman asks NPR for documents about its use of lobbyist in Congress

Matthew Boyle Investigative Reporter
Font Size:

Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn is asking National Public Radio to cough up internal documents to back up its use of a lobbyist in Congress. In mid-July, The Hill reported that NPR hired lobbying firm Navigators Global to help the public radio organization convince lawmakers to not cut federal funding.

The Hill report came a little more than a year after a May 2011 story in The Daily Caller that revealed NPR had hired a different lobbying firm – Bracy, Tucker, Brown & Valanzano – to do the same thing.

In a letter to NPR’s new CEO Gary Knell – who took over after the taxpayer-subsidized media organization was rocked by sting videos James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas released in March 2011 – Lamborn is asking for answers about NPR’s lobbying efforts.

Lamborn said that “as a private, nonprofit organization,” it is certainly NPR’s “right” to hire a lobbying firm. But, he wrote to Knell, “in light of your continued reliance upon federal funds, I believe taxpayers deserve documentation proving your organization’s assertion that no federal funds are being used to pay for the lobbying firm.”

“Your organization airs some quality programs, and I am a private supporter and even participated in an advertisement for a local Colorado chapter,” Lamborn added. “However, as a fiscal conservative, I believe taxpayers should not be on the hook for something that is widely available in the private market. In the future, I hope to see your organization standing on its own two feet and not on the financial shoulders of the American taxpayers. In this struggling economy, families are struggling to make ends-meet while their hard-earned money is being used to subsidize a private organization.”

It’s unclear if NPR will cooperate with the document requests. Spokeswoman Anna Christopher hasn’t immediately responded to TheDC’s request for comment.

Follow Matthew on Twitter