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GAO Slams FCC For Leaks
Shocker: FCC gives info to lobbyists consumer advocates don't get...
by Karl Bode 01:52PM Wednesday Oct 03 2007
The General Accounting Office has issued a report (pdf) slamming the FCC for leaking information to companies and lobbyists while leaving consumer advocates and the public in the dark. The study found lobbyists are given ample information on when (and sometimes how) the agency plans to vote, while consumer advocates get no such insight.

The study notes that timing is everything, and lobbyists given a three-week warning on a vote can determine precisely when to apply lobbying pressure. Doling out such information "undermine(s) the fairness and transparency of the process and constitute(s) a violation of FCC's rules," the GAO said.
We are recommending that FCC take steps to ensure equal access to information by making sure that nonpublic information is safeguarded from disclosure, and to determine what actions FCC should take if a prohibited disclosure is made, so that all stakeholders have the same information to inform their participation in the rulemaking process. FCC took no position on our recommendation.
Of course, the GAO has also been complaining for years that the FCC's data on broadband competition is immensely flawed, and the FCC has done little to fix it. The GAO's latest report also criticized the FCC for using external organization data instead of conducting more of their own internal studies.

"When the 'corporate insiders' and 'K-Street' crowd have the inside track on decisions critical to telecommunications, media, broadband or wireless policy, then the public and consumers, are at an inherent disadvantage," says Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet in a statement.

Last month, while Google and Verizon were battling over 700Mhz broadband spectrum, FCC chief Kevin Martin leaked limited parts of the FCC's auction plans early, apparently to influence press coverage. According to FCC rules, the content of agenda items - such as draft proposals - are "nonpublic information" and "shall not be disclosed, directly or indirectly, to any person outside the Commission" under penalty of possible termination.

topics flat nest 

Torrance, CA

1 edit


"Lobbyists given insight while consumer advocates aren't...


Canonsburg, PA

Re: Well....

Is Rep. Markey recommending that Martin be fired if such leaks continue because if he's not his statement seems pointless.

Rockville, MD
Martin is a shill for telecom interests and appears willing to do anything possible to help them maintain their monopoly.

Too bad it's this way, as between him and Powell, they've all but guaranteed the U.S. being a 2nd tier internet nation for years to come.

Bridgeport, CT
Are we to expect anything different

Unless you have $$ you don't know.
Reach out and Tap someone!

Atlanta, GA


Fire the Jack Ass named Kevin Martin...sounds like grounds for termination to me.

Chicago, IL

Re: Cool...

While I agree with You, I think that should be just the first step. This department should be as transparent as they can be!
Burn a tire, but make sure you buy that carbon offset!


Glen Head, NY

I'm Shocked!

...utterly shocked by this report!

Time take off my rose colored glasses. And I thought the whole government regulation thing was transparent.
I support the right to keep and arm bears.



-1 recommendation

The FCC may have started

out with the best intentions to look out for the public good, but that's gone now. There is nothing that the GAO, consumer interest groups, or anyone else can do about it. Business rules America top to bottom, plain and simple. Don't like it? Talk to FFH See Profile.

Whiting, IN

Re: The FCC may have started

When I was in Navy 10 years ago I recall the GAO having considerable juice. I thought they were the part of govt that made sure you get the budget you are asking for. I am sure the offices of the FCC don't want to get on their bad side. It means less money for even the simplest thing such as office supplies.

Hemet, CA

The Boss Aways Gets First Peek...

Like this is a surprise? Don't you show your reports and action plans to your boss before releasing them to the general public? The powers that be at the FCC just do the same thing. So of course the major telcos have access before the general public and the taxpayers. There are future multi-million dollar consulting and lobbying gigs riding on that loyalty.

Spring Valley, CA

the problem with all of this is...

that money is associated with free speech and thusly access... because of the SCOTUS decision in 1975 concerning Buckly vs. Valejo, money became equal to free speech and it's fouled the political system ever since... now look at it... it's a total train wreck... from lobbyists getting leaked info from the fcc to political pacs, political non-profits and on and on and on... if you want your government back to being lobbied on the merits of actual speech rather than a big fat check that represents said speech, then seek a way to get Buckley vs. Valejo reversed or repealed in total or incrementally... then stories like this will vanish into thin air because money won't be the motivating factor for a politician to be beholden to anymore...

Anchorage, AK

Call this clown before Congress

Rep. Edward J. Markey:
Terminate Kevin Martin!