Dingell rips into FCC for incomplete investigations

[via MediaWeek]

For the first time in four years, all five Federal Communications Commissioners appeared before the House Commerce Committee, now controlled by Democrats, and were sent a clear message: The committee plans to take its oversight responsibility seriously.

"The FCC is not a legislative body," said Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.). "When the FCC loses sight of its proper role, consumers suffer, as does the credibility of the FCC. I fear that this has too often been the case." Committee members grilled the FCC and its Republican-appointed chairman, Kevin Martin, accusing it of overstepping its authority and failing on a number issues, including incomplete investigations.

On payola, Dingell took Martin to task for prolonging its investigation into the deal in which commentator Armstrong Williams was given money (but did not disclose the payment) to hype President Bush's No Child Left Behind educational initiative. The FCC is also working to wrap up a payola investigation involving the four largest radio groups.

Dingell, who has a long list of concerns, said, "I wonder whether we need to schedule an oversight hearing every month in order to keep the business of the Commission on track."

article originally published at http://www.mediaweek.com/mw/current/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=100355955....

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