From giant phone companies to small consumer advocates, the Federal Communications Commission is supposed to treat every group equally. But congressional investigators have found some companies and trade groups have received special treatment.It does seem to go beyond just mergers plus bad regulation into illegal leaks. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission remains the only major agency or department that does not announce new materials via RSS, and the only notice the public has of a 2 November hearing is rumors. Why do they prefer back channels to transparency?
FCC officials tipped them off to confidential information about when regulators planned to vote on important issues — a clear violation of agency rules that provided an unfair lobbying advantage, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office released today. Other interested parties — generally consumer and public-interest groups — did not get such favorable treatment, the report said.
“It is critical that FCC maintain an environment in which all stakeholders have an equal opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process and that the process is perceived as fair and transparent,” the report said. “Situations where some, but not all, stakeholders know what FCC is considering for an upcoming vote undermine the fairness and transparency of the process and constitute a violation of FCC’s rules.”
— FCC accused of unfairly aiding some firms, Some groups or companies got inside information on crucial votes, investigators say. By Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, 9:30 AM PDT, October 3, 2007