McDowell On Board with FCC Reforms, Increased Transparency

Agrees with Copps on top-to-bottom ethics audit of commission

FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell says he is on board with Democratic acting chairman Michael Copps' plan to start reforming the agency to make it more open and transparent, starting with a top-to-bottom ethics audit of the FCC.

In a letter to Copps Tuesday, McDowell offered up some of his own suggestions. Actually, he said he had already discussed many of the ideas with Copps. So, the letter was actually an example of the transparency Copps was seeking, "serving as a starting point for a more public discussion," said McDowell, who made the letter available to the press.

Among McDowell's recommendations, in addition to the audit, were:

1) Update the agency's strategic plan.
2) Improve external communications, including immediately publishing open meeting dates for 2009 and provide six months notice on meeting dates in 2010 and beyond.
3) Increase coordination among commission offices
4) Update the FCC's IT and Web operations
5) Build a better relationship with other government entities "in the consumer protection, homeland security, and technology areas."

Copps outlined his reform plan in a meeting with staffers Monday, conceding that as acting chairman he would likely only be beginning the reform process.