House Report Investigates FCC Problems Under Martin

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Washington - Dec 9, 2008 - A majority staff report prepared for the House's Committee on Energy and Commerce titled Deception and Distrust: The Federal Communications Commission Under Chairman Kevin J. Martin was released to address accusations of misconduct by the commission chairman. A bipartisan investigation was begun because of allegations that Martin abused FCC procedures by manipulating or suppressing reports, data and information. The allegations were made by current and former FCC employees, telecommunication industry representatives and other commissioners.

The 100-page report outlines five points:

  • Martin has manipulated, withheld or suppressed data, reports or information in multiple instances.
  • Commission matters have not been handled in an open and transparent way.
  • The Commission has failed in some of its responsibilities.
  • Martin's methods have created distrust among all the commissioners.
  • Commission staff have not been effectively managed.

    It was expected that the investigation would lead to a congressional hearing, but it appears that this report is the only action. Further, the report is a majority staff report, not a report of the entire House Energy and Commerce Committee.

    Two specific allegations of interest to radio broadcasters include ignoring complaints of interference from and suppressing engineering reports about broadband over power lines, and micromanaging FCC staff and demoting or forcing retirement by FCC staff who do not agree with Chairman Martin. There is no mention of the recent approval of the unlicensed use of TV white spaces.

    The entire report is available at this link.

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