Probe of FCC Finds 'Dysfunctional' Agency

Tough words from the Hill this week for Chairman Martin
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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 energycommerce.house.gov.

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.

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