Congress Slams Kevin Martin For Abuse Of Power
from the good-thing-they-waited-until-he-was-done dept
FCC boss Kevin Martin is nearing the end of his tenure at the FCC, looking ready to jump into a lucrative industry job or (some have speculated) explore the possibility of running for elected office. We’ve been among his many critics over the year — specifically for his rather blatant efforts to side with the telcos, even when his views are exactly the opposite for telcos when compared to cable companies. The worst, however, may have been his awkward attempt to not just bury an analysis that showed that a la carte cable would be more expensive — but to come out with a totally different report claiming the opposite.
Congress has now released a report slamming Martin for widespread abuses of power during his chairmanship, noting his efforts to force the FCC to bury the original report and publish the new report. He ordered the group to rewrite the report with the opposite findings and demoted the guy who wrote the original report. The Congressional report also noted that Martin had failed to properly oversee various telco slushfunds. You know all those extra “fees” the telcos charge? Basically it all goes into a big fund controlled by the telcos (not the gov’t) with almost no oversight. The Congressional report specifically dings Martin for his oversight (or lack thereof) of the Telecommunications Relay Service Fund. Apparently, Martin ignored plenty of evidence that the telcos were overcharging, and let them just keep collecting. And, on top of that the FCC did little to actually audit the program.
It’s also worth noting that Congress decided to release the report without holding hearings, noting: “due to the climate of fear that pervades the FCC…we found that key witnesses were unwilling to testify or even to have their names become known.” Good thing they got that figured out just about a month before he’s leaving office…