Media Access Project
has come out in favor of a bill, H.R. 4167, the Federal Communications
Commission Collaboration Act, that would allow more than two FCC commissioners
to meet privately.
Currently, that is
prohibited by sunshine rules because any meeting of federal regulators that
represents a quorum must be public, and with only five FCC commissioners, three
is a quorum.
MAP points out in
its statement of support that it is historically suspect about amending the
Sunshine Act, which is about openness and transparency, but says the bill,
introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), has been carefully crafted such that
it will actually provide for more transparency, not less, since the current
restriction has led to meetings between staffers acting as "proxies"
for commissioners, meetings whose contents are not disclosed and sometimes
include outside parties.
The bill's safeguards
are principally that there must be public disclosure of the content of the
meetings, and at least one commissioner from each party must be present.