Deception and Distrust: House probe of FCC finds "egregious abuses of power"

by Cecilia Kang, Post I.T.

A year-long Congressional investigation of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin found "egregious abuses of power," though it was unclear whether the nation's top telecommunications regulator broke any rules or laws during his leadership.

The report released today on the probe, titled "Deception and Distrust" and led by Reps. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, found Martin suppressed information and manipulated data to serve his agenda.

"Any of these findings, individually, are cause for concern," said Dingell. "Together, the findings suggest that, in recent years, the FCC has operated in a dysfunctional manner and Commission business has suffered as a result. It is my hope that the new FCC Chairman will find this report instructive and that it will prove useful in helping the Commission avoid making the same mistakes."

Martin has been criticized by FCC staff members for pushing his proposals to loosen media ownership rules and requirements for a la carte pricing of cable television through such tactics as suppressing agency studies that do not support his agenda.

FCC spokesman Robert Kenny said that the agency's review of the report indicated the FCC "did not violate any rules, laws or procedures."

"Chairman Martin has followed the same procedures that have been followed for the past 20 years by FCC Chairmen, both Democratic and Republican alike," Kenny said.

Dingell and Stupak's offices will host a conference call later this morning to go over details of the report.

article originally published at http://voices.washingtonpost.com/posttech/2008/12/house_probe_of_fcc_finds_egreg....

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