Leak To Media Prompts House Commerce, Communications Chairmen To Probe FCC Inspector General's Independence
October 17, 2016 at 2:54 PM (PT)
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman FRED UPTON (R-MI) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman GREG WALDEN (R-OR) have sent a letter to FCC Inspector General DAVID HUNT complaining about what they perceive as the erosion of the Inspector General’s independence and the relationship between HUNT's office and FCC Chairman TOM WHEELER.
The letter pointed to "growing concern that because the FCC Inspector General is appointed by, reports to, and is under the general supervision of the Chairman of the Commission that the IG is not free to provide the honest and independent criticism that is critical to the performance of the IG’s oversight.”
The letter, which asked for information on the relationship between the IG and WHEELER's office, was prompted by the leak to the media, authorized by WHEELER, of a compromise deal between a majority of Commissioners to cap the Lifeline program in advance of the public vote, which led to the sole Democratic vote for the agreement switching to WHEELER's side. The Inspector General's report on the leak confirmed the leak and "unusual" circumstances but concluded that there was no evidence that WHEELER deliberately leaked the agreement to influence the vote's outcome.