Martin Defends FCC Regulatory Process

In a 56-page letter, FCC Chairman Martin has responded to concerns raised by House Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell about the way Martin is running the commission.
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In a 56-page letter, FCC Chairman Martin has responded to concerns raised by House Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell about the way Martin is running the commission.

The Michigan Democrat, as we reported last week, has begun a probe prompted by criticism that the FCC starts meetings hours late and that commissioners and others are not able to access all the information they need to conduct their business.

Martin said he agrees with Dingell that “the commission should conduct its affairs fairly, openly, and transparently to serve the public interest.”

He said his approach has been to try to address questions from his colleagues “including those raised a day before or even an hour before a scheduled open meeting. I recognize that at times this may result in a delay or in a less orderly process, but I believe it is significant that over 95% of the commission items have been adopted by a bipartisan majority of commissioners.”

FCC processes and decision-making timeframes remain essentially unchanged from procedures established nearly 10 years ago under Chairman Bill Kennard, stated Martin.

Commissioners receive items for review “at least three weeks before” an open meeting. Delays have resulted when commissioners wait until some 24 hours or less before a scheduled open meeting to provide input and edits to items, the chairman stated.

The commission this month began posting online those items awaiting a vote and the date they began circulating. The oldest dates from 2005.

Dingell in his letter raised concerns about a breakdown in proper procedure at the FCC and launched an inquiry by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Dingell requested a firm commitment from Martin to publish proposed rules in advance of commission meetings, provide sufficient time to review proposals, and provide commissioners with all relevant information on which proposed orders and rules are based.

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