Probe of FCC Finds 'Dysfunctional' Agency

Tough words from the Hill this week for Chairman Martin
Publish date:

Members of Congress released a scathing report this week on how FCC Chairman Kevin Martin runs the agency.

The report, titled "Deception and Mistrust: The Federal Communications Commission under Chairman Kevin J. Martin," is posted at

Democratic Reps. John Dingell, outgoing chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, both from Michigan, began the probe a year ago amid allegations by some of Martin's fellow commissioners that the chairman withheld critical information on items to be voted on until just before the vote, manipulated data and micromanaged the agency.

In a press briefing, Stupak said the findings confirmed the allegations. "This is no way to run an agency," said Stupak calling it "an abuse of power."

The investigation began as a bipartisan effort, but GOP members didn't sign off on the report; they don't agree with some of the findings.

Stupak said a number of records had been withheld and his group would pursue those, even after the chairman leaves, as he is expected to do next year. Stupak said the group tried to hold hearings on the agency troubles several times, but FCC employees were reluctant to appear discussing the allegations for fear of retribution.

The group investigated allegations of improper reimbursements to Derek Poarch, chief of the FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, and recommended the findings be reviewed further. Poarch disputes the findings.

Given the lateness of the report, Stupak said he hoped the transition team for President-elect Barack Obama learns something from the more than 110-page document and makes the next FCC more transparent.


House to Probe FCC

Members of both parties in Congress had warned FCC Chairman Martin they would begin an investigation into how the agency conducts its business if he went ahead with a vote to ease the cross-ownership rules.

FCC Did Not Squash Report, IG Finds

The FCC Inspector General said evidence uncovered in an investigation did not substantiate allegations that two draft research reports of staff economists in the Media Bureau had been suppressed by senior managers at the agency or that senior managers had ordered one of the reports to be destroyed.

Congress to Probe Satellite Merger

A new congressional antitrust task force will hold a hearing next week on the proposed merger of radio subscription companies XM and Sirius, according to a statement from House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich.