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DHS's IG Investigates and Reports Whether Agency is Doing Its Job

Why Doesn't FCC IG Do the Same?

ABC News Videos | ABC Entertainment News

A breaking news item today is an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector Generals on how well the Transportation Security Agency is doing its statutory mission with respect to passenger screening. The acting head of TSA has already been replaced.

The FCC IG has the exact same statutory mission as the DHS IG.

The law does not differentiate between IGs appointed by the President, mainly Executive Branch IGs, and IGs appointed by some independent agencies. The mission and responsibilities are exactly the same! Yet historically the FCC IG has been content to look at petty malfeasance by junior FCC staffers and USF fraud. Whether the FCC is doing its job seems to be “beyond his pay grade”. Perhaps this is because all FCC IGs have been FCC insiders - perhaps known to the 8th floor not to be “too inquisitive”.

We are now in the middle of a proposed major downsizing of the FCC’s spectrum enforcement operation. A $750,000 outside study apparently found that spectrum enforcement was “inefficient” and morale was terrible. Did any findings in this area come for the FCC IG? Of course not! Look at the most recent FCC IG semiannual report. Other than a series of USF-related fraud issues, the only investigation disclosed specifically is the following:

FCC Employee Time and Attendance Fraud: Substantial Overtime

An employee was alleged to have committed time and attendance fraud including improperly claiming overtime pay, working fewer hours than their tour of duty required, and spending considerable time while on official duty selling personal products. According to the data reviewed by OI Internal Affairs, the employee failed to complete a full tour of duty 72 out of the 78 days or 92% of the time. In addition, forensic review of digital evidence did not substantiate the other claims of inappropriate activity while on official government time. The matter was referred to Bureau management for disciplinary action as deemed appropriate.

Look at the reports the FCC IG has released. Most deal with USF-related issues although two deal with FCC security issues. In efficiency of spectrum enforcement operations? Excessive delays in dealing with petitions files at FCC? Compliance with § 7 of the Comm Act? No time for those issues.

A credible IG would make FCC more credible.

The FCC IG is reportedly investigating now the procedures involved in the Net Neutrality decision. Given his track record, will anyone believe his report?
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