$1,595 To Talk With The FCC About Telco Policy? Lobbyists Welcome; Average Citizens... Not So Much

from the how-policy-is-made dept

Michael Marcus is noting that the Practicing Law Institute is holding a Telco and Policy Regulation "Institute," that will include a Q&A with "FCC commissioners and other senior officials." It looks like three commissioners will be there, along with four other senior officials including the heads of "wireline competition," "wireless telecommunications," and "engineering and technology." The issue, Marcus points out, is that this Q&A with key regulators costs $1,595 to attend. Affordable for lobbyists, but not so much for anyone else.

But Marcus' bigger concern is that the public won't find out what was said at the event without ponying up for the recording -- where previous recordings cost $797 for audio and $1,595 for video. As he notes:
Now I do not disagree that it is useful for public officials to meet in fine hotels with industry moguls, brief them on upcoming policy issues and answer questions. The key question is whether the rest of us will find out in a reasonably timely what was said. (Some of us might like to ask questions also, but that is getting off subject.) I have previously proposed to the the FCC's reboot.fcc.gov site that asks about "What are ways in which the FCC can better engage the public in open proceedings?" that videos of such presentations be made available to the public at the normal FCC terms - free online, nominal charge for copying - within a few days of such an event. As with the other many suggestions received from the public via this site, this has not been resolved.
Again, it's understandable that it costs money to attend such events. It's costly to put them on, and events are a big business. But it gets a little troubling when public policy may be influenced at such events and the details of what was said are not revealed.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Rose M. Welch (profile), Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 9:35pm

    Open Meetings?

    All meetings with federal officials should be subject to some sort of Open Meetings protocol (like the Sunshine Act), where their words and actions can be reviewed later by the public.

    You know, the public that's paying them to attend these meetings.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 3rd, 2010 @ 10:21pm

    ah democracy....best gov't money can buy

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 12:23am

    I'd pay a dollar to send Mike Masnick. Now, if we can just get 1,594 more people....

    Who's with me?

     

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    Jake, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 3:46am

    You should probably make it a little clearer that the FCC is not organising the event itself; some of its senior people are apparently guest speakers at an event run by the Practicing Law Institute.

    Still, if the FCC wants to host its own Q&A session with representatives of the industries it regulates, I daresay they could do it for less than $1,595 a seat!

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 5:24am

    Anyboy remember?

    ... the time a toilet seat cost 5 grand?

     

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  •  
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    Greevar (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 5:37am

    I am the all powerful Oz

    Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

     

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    abc gum, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 5:52am

    Sounds like a campaign fund raiser

     

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    NullOp, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 6:15am

    Charging?

    This should cost ten times what they are charging. Lobbyists are the biggest threat to the common man in America today. Lobbyists are the people that erode your paycheck by convincing our elected officials its more important for a pharmaceutical companies to make money by charging ridiculous amount for medicine than it is for you to be able to afford to send your kids to a good school.

     

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      abc gum, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 6:55am

      Re: Charging?

      ... or outlaw lobbying

      But now that corps are people, I suppose that they are just being "represented".

       

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        harbingerofdoom (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:24am

        Re: Re: Charging?

        corporations have always been considered people in some way.

        i think what you are referring to maybe is the concept that they have rights to free speech and that campaign contributions have been held to be free speech when made by corporate entities?

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 7:29am

    This has been going on for well over a century, since the days when dairy lobbyists bought laws into effect that forced margarine manufacturers to buy exepensive, arbitrary licenses and dye their products pink.
    Democracy is an illusion to pacify the masses. America has always been a plutocracy.

     

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    CoCo Was Screwed, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 8:54am

    No currently elected / appointed Federal official should be allowed to participate as a "guest speaker" for any event unless the public is welcome and admission is free. If admission is charged every single penny of it should be given to some charity or education foundation.

    No company or industries should benefit financially from any event attended by a public official. It's a clear conflict of interests.

     

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    art (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 10:39am

    $1595 is cheap

    FCC Chairman Genachowski is speaking at the O'Reilly/Battelle Web 2.0 extravaganza starting Nov. 15 in San Francisco. That one will only set you back $4,195 until the conference starts, then it goes up to $4,395 the day of.

     

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    Tea Party WInrar, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    Mike,

    You make it sound like this is a bad thing. You wanted monied interests this last election, so here you go: Pay up!

     

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    Tea Party Winrar, Nov 4th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    The people have spoken!

    Mike,

    You make it sound like this is a bad thing. You voters wanted more influence by monied interests this last election.

    So here you go: Pay up!

    Why is this so difficult to understand?

     

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    marak (profile), Nov 4th, 2010 @ 2:23pm

    Hey ill kick in a buck and with the way the aussie dollars going, it will only cost me 97 cents!

     

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