FAA Investigating NY Rep. Maloney's Use of Drone for Wedding

Thursday, 17 Jul 2014 05:12 PM

By Todd Beamon

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The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating whether a drone used to record the gay wedding of Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney last month violated agency regulations.

"The FAA is looking into a report of an unmanned aircraft operation in Cold Spring, N.Y., on June 21 to determine if there was any violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions," the agency told The New York Daily News in a statement on Thursday.

The newspaper reported Monday that using the drone might have gone against federal regulations on flying drones for commercial purposes.

The FAA requires commercial drone operators to obtain permission to fly drones because of safety concerns, despite calls from business groups and members of Congress to ease restrictions on the aircraft, the Daily News reports.

Democrat Maloney, 47, represents the 18th Congressional District just north of New York City. The first-term congressman is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's aviation subcommittee, which oversees the FAA.

For his wedding to longtime partner Randy Florke, Maloney hired Propellerheads Aerial Photography in Trenton, N.J., to take aerial footage, the Daily News reports.

Maloney later released his wedding video, which has since been slammed by some conservative groups as extravagant and proves that the congressman is out of touch with regular voters.

Both House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer attended the event, which also included fireworks.

Parker Gyokeres, the company's owner, told the Daily News that he did not have FAA permission to use the drone for the event.

Former New York state Rep. Nan Hayworth, a Republican who is challenging Maloney's seat this fall, again called on the Democrat to quit the aviation subcommittee.

"It is a blatant conflict of interest to be sitting on a committee while being investigated by an agency it oversees," Hayworth told the Daily News.

The National Republican Congressional Committee also demanded that Pelosi and Hoyer say if they knew whether the FAA had authorized the drone's use at Maloney's wedding, the newspaper reports.

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