GAO Report Requested by Rep. Markey Finds Corporate Insiders Have Unequal Access to FCC Info

WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released today, information about Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulatory decisions is often leaked to corporate insiders long before it becomes public. The report was conducted at the request of Representative Edward J. Markey (D-MA), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, and focused on the FCC process as the agency sets important rules for the telecommunications industry.

Rep. Markey said, “The FCC has a duty to be above-board in developing and implementing its rules. 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. Both the law and the public interest, require that rulemaking decisions adhere to principles of openness and objectivity.”

The report, entitled “FCC Should Take Steps to Ensure Equal Access to Rulemaking Information,” followed four rulemaking decisions and found that “some stakeholders had access to nonpublic information that could give them an advantage in the rulemaking process” even though “FCC rules prohibit disclosing this information outside of FCC.” The GAO recommended that the “FCC take steps to ensure equal access to information by making sure that nonpublic information is safeguarded from disclosure…so that all stakeholders have the same information”.

“The good news is that the FCC has rules against disclosing inside information before everyone knows it publicly. The bad news is that it appears violations of such rules are a daily reality at the FCC. I believe the FCC should take immediate steps to protect the integrity of its rulemaking process. The public deserves to know that these decisions are made on the up-and-up, with no unfair advantage to any one side in these important policy debate,” concluded Rep. Markey.

GAO Report on FCC Rulemaking



October 3, 2007

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