$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.

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Comments on “$1,595 To Talk With The FCC About Telco Policy? Lobbyists Welcome; Average Citizens… Not So Much”

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Jake says:

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!

NullOp says:


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.

CoCo Was Screwed says:

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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