Powell: Politics Quashed No Reports


Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell said Tuesday that he was not aware of the second unpublished FCC report on media ownership that has surfaced from the office of Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), that not all reports get published, and that any conjecture that the reports were unpublished for political reasons was wrong.

In a statement released by his office Tuesday, Powell said that he did not quash any studies because the conclusion did not square with his or anybody else's politics, and said that the ownership issues had been thoroughly vetted anyway.

"I was unaware of this unpublished report," says Powell. "Such reports are commonplace at the FCC." There is apparently no affirmative government record keeping obligation that drafts or working papers have to be published.

Ken Ferree, who was Media Bureau chief at the FCC, says there are probably thousands of pages of material from lawyers and economists that never see the light of day for any number of reasons, including management of resources, "but it would not be because of the results," he told B&C. "There are lots of things that never go out the door."

"I am certain of two things," said Powell in his statement, "That I would not tolerate killing a report solely because someone did not politically support the outcome; and that there was ample evidence put on the public record supporting and opposing every conceivable view on this hotly debated topic. Any conjecture to the contrary is wrong."

Boxer expressed concern during FCC Chairman Kevin Martin's renomination hearing last week that the report was suppressed and called for an Inspector General investigation, which Martin has agreed to.

Powell, who was in Alabama giving a speech according to his assistant, is chairman and CEO or the MK Powell Group as well as senior adviser to Providence Equity.