House panel: FCC’s Martin abused power

Tue, 12/09/2008 - 7:30am
Brian Santo

The FCC under Chairman Kevin Martin has been dysfunctional, “and commission business has suffered as a result,” according to a report published by a House panel.

Reps. John D. Dingell, Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, accused Martin of "egregious abuses of power," but apparently stopped short of any charges of illegality or impropriety.

Martin has provoked opposition from any number of quarters, including the cable industry, which feels particularly aggrieved by many of his policies. The industry often accused Martin of misinterpreting data and of circumventing or ignoring the FCC’s own processes in pursuit of his goals.

But it was an insurrection from his fellow Commissioners that may have been the final straw that prompted the year-long House probe. The other four FCC Commissioners complained that Martin had been consistently withholding information, and scheduling votes on matters he’d given them little time to review.

The report released today on the probe, "Deception and Distrust," found Martin suppressed information and manipulated data to serve his agenda.

"Any of these findings, individually, are cause for concern," said Dingell. "Together, the findings suggest that, in recent years, the FCC has operated in a dysfunctional manner and Commission business has suffered as a result. It is my hope that the new FCC Chairman will find this report instructive and that it will prove useful in helping the Commission avoid making the same mistakes."

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