Congress Wants a Truckload of FCC Docs

FCC staff better hope they haven’t been sending too many goofy emails.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, “as part of its ongoing, bipartisan investigation into regulatory procedures” at the commission, has asked for a broad swath of documents.

The committee wants all documents, electronic and otherwise, relating to delay or postponement in preparing Congressionally-mandated reports, placing items on circulation, setting items for open meetings, commencing open meetings, and putting adopted orders in the Federal Register

The March 12 letter to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin also seeks “any guidelines, protocols, instructions, or directives relating to the routine practices and processes of bureaus, divisions, and offices within the FCC.”

The letter was signed by Reps. John D. Dingell, (D-Mich.), and Joe Barton, (R-Texas), the chairman and ranking member of the committee, and Bart Stupak, (D-Mich.), and John Shimkus, (R-Ill.), the chairman and ranking member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

The congressmen said they were investigating allegations from current and former FCC employees and other sources, “which we have reason to believe are credible,” relating to management practices.

Among the specific FCC acts under scrutiny, is the decision to discard or change the conclusions reached in the Nov. 18, 2004, report by the FCC Media Bureau, “Report on the Packaging and Sale of Video Programming Services to the Public.”

The committee also wants to know the story behind the story on the commission’s recent production of 10 media ownership studies and the resulting decisions. It wants to check into the so-called 70/70 test for triggering new oversight of cable, as well as the decision of which commissioner represented the FCC at the most recent World Radiocommunication Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

The committee wants a list of all new hires and personnel reassignments (GS–13 and above plus those in the Senior Executive Service) with plenty of details, since March 2005.

It also wants the individual meeting schedules for the commissioners, bureau chief and others, plus the travel records of the five commissioners and Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau Chief Derek Poarch.

The committee gave the FCC two weeks—till March 26—to comply.