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...
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Filed Under: a la carte, abuse of power, congress, kevin martin
Companies: congress, fcc

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  1. identicon
    Davis Freeberg, 9 Dec 2008 @ 6:44pm

    You've got to be kidding me. A climate of fear at the FCC is preventing hearings from taking place? Does this sound fishy to anyone else? I bet that there have been plenty of CEO's who've been called to testify in front of Congress who were more then a little fearful and yet they still got supeonaed. If the oil companies only knew they could have avoided all that unpleasantness about an oil windfall tax if they would have just been afraid of talking to Congress, you can bet that they wouldn't have shown up. I'm not sure what the real story is, but something smells political about this slam job. If Congress really suspects that something wrong/illegal has occurred, then they should force people to testify and get to the bottom of this issue. It's hard to take reports like this seriously when no one seems willing to stand behind the allegations that they are alleging.

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