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House Probe of FCC Finds "Egregious Abuses of Power"

A year-long Congressional investigation of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin found "egregious abuses of power," though it was unclear whether the nation's top telecommunications regulator broke any rules or laws during his leadership.

The report released today on the probe, titled "Deception and Distrust" and led by Reps. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, and Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, found Martin suppressed information and manipulated data to serve his agenda.

"Any of these findings, individually, are cause for concern," said Dingell. "Together, the findings suggest that, in recent years, the FCC has operated in a dysfunctional manner and Commission business has suffered as a result. It is my hope that the new FCC Chairman will find this report instructive and that it will prove useful in helping the Commission avoid making the same mistakes."

Martin has been criticized by FCC staff members for pushing his proposals to loosen media ownership rules and requirements for a la carte pricing of cable television through such tactics as suppressing agency studies that do not support his agenda.

FCC spokesman Robert Kenny said that the agency's review of the report indicated the FCC "did not violate any rules, laws or procedures."

"Chairman Martin has followed the same procedures that have been followed for the past 20 years by FCC Chairmen, both Democratic and Republican alike," Kenny said.
Dingell and Stupak's offices will host a conference call later this morning to go over details of the report.

By Cecilia Kang  |  December 9, 2008; 11:03 AM ET  | Category:  Cecilia Kang
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

Not surprising that another Bushie would be abusing their power. The Bush Administration, aka The Chimpy Regime, has completely wrecked the federal government by replacing competent career bureaucrats with Cheney's criminal cronies.

Obama will have his work cut out for him; it will take him months to get all the Chimpy cronies out of the government.

Obama won't be able to do anything until they are gone because they will obstruct him. And they are burrowing into agencies by stealing career civil service jobs from qualified applicants.

Posted by: Tom333 | December 9, 2008 11:32 AM


I recognized a lot of abuses through their rulings over the past 8 years. It's only a matter of time before a telco is too big to fail and we have to bail them out too!

Posted by: theobserver4 | December 9, 2008 11:53 AM

Hmmm I wonder if this has anything to do with O'Reilly quitting...

I understand even Murdock cannot stand him..

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | December 9, 2008 11:58 AM

It is Martin that has been pushing for BPL even though it violates Part 97 and Part 15 regulations...
The two biggest victims of his blatant falsifying of the BPL engineering reports have been the public, brain washed into thinking that getting their internet over their electric wires for free is going to happen, and the Amateur Radio Service whose assigned frequencies are unlawfully jammed with noise and rendered unuseable...

dr. o

Posted by: ad4hk2004 | December 9, 2008 12:26 PM

don't dems also suppress information and manipulate data...
isn't that what they did with freddie and fannie mae?
seems they want to replace the fcc chairman and the only way to do so is to fake some allegation and force him out...
step 1 in taking away our freedom of speech...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 9, 2008 12:29 PM

Anyone who has taken 5 minutes to follow the moves of Bushco knows that 100% of political appointees were selected based upon their diametrically opposed political ideologies.

...A doctor who believes prayer is the best birth control was appointed to guide women's health.

...Kevin Martin at FCC is against equal time for opposing positions, is against neighborhood broadcasters, and favors consolidation of all media to a handful of large corporations because they vcan be controlled more easily than many regional investigative broadcasters could ever be.

...Chertoff appointed to Homeland Security because he believes in limited federal intervention in disaster relief.

In every case the appointees of Bushco stand AGAINST the interests of he electorate and stand FOR the interests of NEO-CON IDEOLOGY.

Posted by: onestring | December 9, 2008 1:00 PM

"don't dems also suppress information and manipulate data..."

Comparing the coverage of the supppresion of views within the government between 1992-2000 and 2000-2008, I would say "not so much." The "doesn't everyone do this" defense is not accurate here.

Posted by: Nardo2 | December 9, 2008 1:12 PM

Egregious? Does that mean really, really bad? Good grief these guys amaze me. Check out

Posted by: GloomBoomDotcom | December 9, 2008 1:44 PM

"Martin suppressed information and manipulated data to serve his agenda."

if so, I'd assume "rules and laws" WERE broken.....and this isn't a matter of "mistakes" made, but one of dishonest and biases actions taken on behalf of wealthy, conservative benefactors.

so much for pimping the airwaves.

Posted by: forestbloggod | December 9, 2008 2:06 PM

Gee, what a surprise. Not. Now can we have our federal airwaves back and get some real fair and balanced reporting?

Posted by: sandnsmith | December 9, 2008 2:14 PM

What we have here is gross and extreme mismanagement and deliberate subversion of the FCC's purpose. Although this could just be extreme incompetence, the ideological slant to the abuses suggests it was deliberate.

Now, mismanagement is not - in itself - illegal and can be conducted in such a way as to formally comply with rules and procedures, while gutting the result. No laws, rules or procedures have yet been devised that can assure proper management.

If Martin's defense is that he is merely incompetent, he will be in good company with so many of his Bush Administration cronies, but this scarcely excuses his destruction of the agency with which he was entrusted.

But let's wait and see. Martin's abuses may yet be shown to cross the line into formal mis-administration, and even criminal misuse of office.

Posted by: careysub | December 9, 2008 2:35 PM

I've always been intrigued by FFC blondie Deborah Taylor Tate. Someone should have done with her what Princess Sparkly Pony did with Condi.

Posted by: Bartolo | December 9, 2008 2:56 PM

Huh? What agenda, what rules did he break to serve it?

Posted by: AsperGirl | December 9, 2008 4:24 PM

No, DwightCollins, the FCC will get a new chairman with the change in administration anyway. With the change from a Republican president to a Democratic one means a change of chairmanship too. So there goes your theory.

Posted by: Janine1 | December 9, 2008 4:44 PM

Lest we forget last October:
A legislative investigation has concluded that Gov. Sarah Palin abused her power in pushing for the firing of an Alaska state trooper.
The report by investigator Steve Branchflower was made public by a bipartisan 12-0 vote of the Legislative Council, which authorized the investigation.
The report found that Palin violated the state's executive branch ethics act, which says that "each public officer holds office as a public trust, and any effort to benefit a personal or financial interest through official action is a violation of that trust."
Self-abuse, maybe. Abuse of the public trust, for sure.

Posted by: bdunn1 | December 9, 2008 4:45 PM

Who had to be told about this...
Bush and Cheney's administration has been let to do as they please for the last 8 years.
My biggest question is why did the republicans and the democrats in the House and Senate not only look the other way , but passed legislation to protect them..

This started with their thief of the president election in 2000,,,So we have had an illegal government since 2001......

Name a law or crime which they have not committed or have place their personal in charge (including the military) to commit the crime for them..
Treason...Torture...Lies for an illegal invasion of Iraq...Spying on the citizens of this country..Illegal contracts using our tax money for their friends and family...signing statements...Signing legislation into law which was not passed by the senate or House...possible inside trading using prior knowledge of White House contract awarding to companies. ...You name the crime and it happen in their time...

Posted by: Sport2069 | December 9, 2008 6:07 PM

I live in Wilmington, N.C., and was astounded when the babyfaced nobody claiming this as his home state was appointed. Over the years, I was progressively less impressed with his performance, as detailed here and in contemporaneous coverage of FCC actions.

Earlier this year, our TV market was the first in the country to go all-digital, with wall-to-wall Kevin Martin for months, PSAs, multiple visits, etc.

It was bad enough that the local yokels thought that serving as the national guinea pig was some sort of an honor, but my main question was and is, what kind of political gain did he seek by choosing us? Maybe this disclosure will prevent us from ever learning, but I suspect not. His kind have no shame, and whatever it is he wants to run for or be appointed to will be revealed soon enough.

Posted by: bellaparola | December 9, 2008 6:18 PM



Posted by: LOONYBIN2000 | December 9, 2008 7:19 PM

It’s amazing this article says Martin has been criticized by FCC staff members yet in over 13 years of dealing with FCC, I’ve found the Chairman and Commissioners appear to try to do what the law requires on ‘leased access’ while ‘career level’ Media Bureau staff members ignore the law, the intent of Congress and the Commission.

If Chairman Martin is guilty of micro-managing the staff, then those in the Media Bureau have escaped. Today the bureau is refusing to release a report on a petition vital to the use of broadband in the delivery of leased access programming to cable sites, although it is obvious from the Commission’s adoption of new rules last November FCC wants these petitions acted on in a more timely manner.

In fact the new rules call for the bureau to act within 90 days from the close of pleadings. In this present case, it has been more than 190 days.

It may have helped had the investigation probed into the actions of some of the FCC staff and maybe even have checked with some of us that are injured by those ‘career staff’ members that choose to ignore the Chairman and Commissioners. I’ve got some horror stories to share and not from the result of Chairman Martin but the lower level staff acting on their own.
I'm president of the national association of leased access programmers and know, first hand, of the way Chairman Martin and individual Commissiones are being ignored by some key staff personnel.

Posted by: Stog | December 10, 2008 8:31 AM

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