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
    Drew, 9 Dec 2008 @ 4:38pm

    Dumb question...

    Does that mean they're not going to prosecute?
    "It doesn't matter what you do, just how long you put off getting caught..."

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Tim, 9 Dec 2008 @ 5:40pm

    Great. Refund?

    That's great; so when can I expect my refund for all the times I was charged 13 cents per text message (even though the text messages were sent over the internet for cheaper than it would cost an instant message)? I'm thinking I'll buy a house with mine.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2008 @ 6:31pm

    Are these the same telcos asking for a bailout ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. 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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    eleete, 9 Dec 2008 @ 6:58pm


    Who do they Represent?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Dec 2008 @ 8:03pm


    They're not scared of Congress. They're scared of their BOSS

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Dec 2008 @ 3:41am

    So glad to hear this

    I hated this guy when I worked with the FCC in my previous regulatory career. I am so glad to hear him finally getting some scrutiny. To be fair Congress could use some condemnation (along with Al Gore) for allowing the system to be set up this way. Martin was a serious jerk though... arrogant as hell. Glad to see him getting it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Tristan Phillips, 10 Dec 2008 @ 4:11am

    More nonsense from Congress

    Let me get this straight: The man has been in that position for almost 8 years, is leaving his position in a month, and *NOW* they issue a "report" about his abuses of power?

    The timing of the report wouldn't have anything to do with politics instead of any real abuses, now would it? Mr. Masnick needs to read this report like most people read *anything* coming from Washington DC: It's a load of bullshit unless otherwise proven.

    I'll sit back and wait for the proof.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Improbus, 10 Dec 2008 @ 6:40am


    Talk is cheap ... how about some jail time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Nathania Johnson, 11 Dec 2008 @ 8:34am

    It's a bit

    Like the pot calling the kettle black

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Capitalist, 16 Dec 2008 @ 1:23pm


    When you are managing an entire resource (spectrum) as "public property" (aka Communism), the only question is which person gets to abuse their position of power... not whether abuse will happen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    jel1955, 16 Dec 2008 @ 5:12pm

    My brush with the FCC's OIG.

    This past autumn, I had the strange experience of having an offer extended to me by the arm of the OIG which was being created to audit the universal service fund. I interviewed for an audit management position, and was told that I was exactly what they were looking for in members of their team; yet I was offered little more than public accounting firms in the Washington, DC area offer people just out of school, without having completed licensing as a CPA (which I did some time ago). Since the salary offered me was slightly more than half of what I made in my last position, I countered with a completely reasonable request; yet I never was even shown the common courtesy of a response. My sense of the agency's OIG is that it does not fulfill its oversight duties, period. Hearing during my interviews that the program had never been fully audited was shocking to me, but being treated as if I was less than the equal of the people with whom I interviewed, indicated to me that the agency is probably no place anyone should work. The FCC, its responsibilities, and its functions need to be completely rethought; and the commission retired and replaced by an appropriately organized entity to regulate the telecoms, ISP's, and cable companies.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Cary B, 17 Dec 2008 @ 5:45am

    Now the public knows what Ham Radio Operators already knew.

    This guy has been hiding information and disregarding technical data from the Amature Radio Relay League for years. The specific segment of industry he was trying to protect was Broadband Internet Access over Power Lines (BPL).

    BPL was cauing harmful interference to many wireless licensed users which FCC rule specifically prohibit. According to a recent government ruling on a law suit filed by t he ARRL, parts of studies were cherry picked and valid data was ignored. The battle had been going on for many years.

    Please see the ARRL web site for more the facts:

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Oct 2009 @ 8:51am

    "Congress Slams Kevin Martin For Abuse Of Power"

    Apparently whoever bribed Kevin Martin forgot to bribe congress and now congress wants their cut of the bribes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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