FCC Investigated by Congressional Committee
By Lee Russ
Tuesday, December 04, 2007 at 07:34 PM
Adding to the number of fed employees and agencies under congressional investigation, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced yesterday that it will investigate the FCC, specifically whether its Chairman, Kevin Martin, has been conducting its affairs in an appropriate manner.The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Michigan Democrat Bart Stupak, will conduct the investigation. Stupak reportedly issued a press release saying that said he had received several complaints over Martin's conduct of agency business, including allegations that indicate a "possible abuse of power and an attempt to intentionally keep fellow commissioners in the dark."
Only last week, Martin was accused of selectively withholding data from a report on cable television industry competition, in order to favor his own position on that issue. In a letter to Martin, the Chair of the Oversight Committee, John Dingell, spoke of an emerging trend to short-circuit procedural norms, referencing last week's alleged withholding of evidence as well as the commission's failure to publicize the text of proposed rules in order to allow for adequate comment and Martin's failure to inform fellow commissioners of the details of draft items until the last minute.
This appears to be just another case of federal agency dysfunction under the Bush administration. Add it to the well known investigations of the Departments of Justice and Interior, and, among other messes:
- The absurd mess surrounding oil & gas company royalties to the government for drilling and mining on federal land, including the decrease in the number of government employees devoted to ensuring compliance with the contracts.
- The diminished number of IRS auditors dealing with estate and gift taxes (affecting primarily the richest of the rich).