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FCC Is Asked for Ton of Information in House Investigation - Broadcasting & Cable

FCC Is Asked for Ton of Information in House Investigation

House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Seeks Raft of Documents
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The House Energy & Commerce Committee asked for a raft of documents from the Federal Communications Commission in its Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee's ongoing investigation of the agency's processes and decision-making.

It also extended an invitation to all FCC employees to anonymously provide any information pertaining to its investigation.

In a letter to FCC chairman Kevin Martin, the heads of the committee and subcommittee thanked him for his "continued cooperation" with the investigation into "allegations from current and former FCC employees and other sources, which we have reason to believe are credible ... [that] relate to management practices that may adversely affect the commission’s ability both to discharge effectively its statutory duties and to guard against waste, fraud and abuse."

But they were also looking for more. They gave Martin two weeks for e-mails, memoranda, notes, phone conversations, meeting schedules and other information on the setting of the FCC agendas; any limitations on communications between employees on official agency business, contacts with industry, the public or Congress; personnel reassignments; and the withholding or reports analysis of the 70/70 test of cable market power.

It also wants a list of all new hires and reassignments; an unredacted copy of the inspector general's report on allegations that reports had been suppressed -- the IG concluded they had not been; and the meeting and travel schedules of the commissioners and other top agency officials.

The committee also asked that a copy of its letter be circulated to all employees and contractors and that they be told they can provide information anonymously either via e-mail or using the online feedback form.

The subcommittee investigation stems from a number of complaints, both inside and outside of the FCC, about its handling of the media-ownership-rule review, from how media-ownership studies were handled, to lobbyist access to information, to how the eventually rule change was announced -- in The New York Times.

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