The independent blog on spectrum policy issues
that welcomes your input on the key policy issues of the day.

Our focus is the relationship between spectrum policy
and technical innnovation.

A net neutrality free zone: We pledge no mention of any net neutrality issues before 2018.

When they deserve it, we don't hesitate to criticize either NAB, CTIA or FCC.

FCC Starts Transparent ex parte Rule Enforcement


FCC has had ex parte rules on its books since the late 1970s. The Commission is unique among administrative agencies in the federal government in requiring outside parties to make filings about their ex parte meetings with Commission officials - as far as I can tell every other administrative agency in the federal government has its staff write up memos about such meetings and inserts them into the public record. Only FCC depends on filings by external parties who have mixed incentives with respect to transparency.

On June 1, 2011 major changes to the ex parte rules went into effect along with a promise of greater enforcement. As far as I can tell the only enforcement in the previous 30 + year was one letter sent from the former Cable Services Bureau. Never any action from the Office of General Counsel responsible for ex parte enforcement. A new FCC page on ex parte enforcement reveals a variety of actions in the past year.

In particular the document shown at the top of this post is the first actual finding of a violation EVER! There are 2 other admonitions as well as a referral to the Enforcement Bureau “ to determine whether a forfeiture is warranted”.

Never having attended law school your blogger is still convinced that the threat in the revised rules of fining ex parte violators was a bluff as the terms of Title V of the Comm Act dealing with fines do not permit them in such cases. I note that the R&O adopting the new rules gave no references to the authority for fines.

But, congratulations to OGC for taking the first steps in enforcement. Maybe after they try enforcing the rules they will learn how impractical they are and recommend using the process that the rest of the federal government has used for 30 years.

blog comments powered by Disqus