FCC Sends Formal Inquiries To Five Television Networks Allegedly Involved In ONDCP Payola Scandal

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has sent inquiries to the five major television networks in response to NORML’s complaint filed with the FCC against the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and the networks. This complaint arose from the ONDCP’s participation in a program where the ONDCP would offer millions of additional advertising dollars if network programs had anti-drug messages embedded in their programming.
The FCC has given the networks 30 days to respond to this inquiry. The FCC is asking the networks if they have entered into verbal or written agreements with the ONDCP; which television programs were involved and to what extent; which stations aired the programs and at what times; and whether any ONDCP sponsorship identification aired in connection with the broadcast of the programs.
“It is encouraging to see the FCC move forward with this investigation,” said Tom Dean, Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director. “The ONDCP has arrogantly refused to disclose much of this same information requested by NORML in a Freedom of Information request, now demanded by the FCC from the networks. NORML will use all legal means available to foreclose the drug czar from assuming guardianship over the public drug policy debate.”
Dean filed the complaint on NORML’s behalf on February 17, asking the FCC to sanction the ONDCP and the networks involved for their continued violations of the anti-payola law set forth in the Federal Communications Act.
For more information, please contact Tom Dean, Esq., NORML Foundation Litigation Director at (202) 483-8751. For further information on NORML’s FCC complaint and related information, please visit: http://norml.org/news/fcc_complaint/index.shtml.