June 11, 2008 — Sirius Satellite Radio CEO Mel Karmazin is being accused by a high-ranking Republican Senator of providing misleading testimony to Congress about his company’s merger with XM Satellite Radio, The Post has learned.
Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) yesterday sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asking that redacted portions of a May 27 letter from a satellite radio industry trade group to the Federal Communications Commission be released to the public. The outspoken critic of the Sirius-XM deal is concerned that Karmazin wasn’t being cand id about the companies’ efforts to make and market “interoperable” receivers – or radios that can receive both Sirius and XM signals – in his testimony to Congress “I am very troubled by the notion that Congress may have been misled in its prior hearings on this merger,” wrote Brownback in reference to Karmazin.
The original letter containing the currently redacted portions was sent by the Consumer Coalition for Competition in Satellite Radio (C3SR) to the FCC.
C3SR is a trade organization funded by the National Association of Broadcasters to lobby against the deal. Sirius and XM strongly countered the C3SR’s contentions in a letter to the FCC and said they in no way violated the FCC’s interoperability requirement. Indeed, the DOJ and FCC have reviewed the un-redacted letter and , in the DOJ’s case, passed the merger without conditions – the FCC has yet to rule on the deal. “There is no contradiction, and Sirius’ testimony was completely accurate,” a spokesman said. “[This] is another example of our broadcast competitors’ willingness to say and do anything to try to stop this merger.”