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NPR Taps Lobbying Firm To Help Make Case On Public Funding

Our colleague David Folkenflik reports for the Newscast Desk that:

"NPR has hired an outside lobbying firm to help make its case with lawmakers on Capitol Hill as some House Republicans seek to make deep funding cuts to public broadcasting.

"Recent disclosure forms show NPR has paid $10,000 dollars to Navigators Global, a firm founded by Republican political figures including strategist and pundit Mike Murphy.

"NPR actually paid out significantly more for outside lobbying in some past years to defeat similar efforts. Last year, for example, it paid $80,000.

"But some Republicans are once again seeking to make steep cuts in funds for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting — which channels federal dollars to subsidize operations of public TV and radio stations.

"The contract was first reported by the political trade publication The Hill."

In that Hill story, NPR spokeswoman Dana Rehm is quoted saying that federal funds are not being used to pay the lobbyists and that because NPR is also a trade organization that represents members stations, "it is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies."

Navigators Global describes itself as being "a full-service issues management, government relations and strategic communications firm." Murphy has worked on campaigns for Sen. John McCain, current Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney, former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and others. Another of the firm's founders, Phil Anderson, was a special assistant to Vice President Dan Quayle and a deputy assistant to former Republican National Committee Chairman Lee Atwater. The third founder, Jim Pitts, served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations.

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