House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Communications & Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) this week expressed concern that the FCC Inspector General’s ability to be a real check on the agency’s leaders was in question. In a letter to the FCC they stated, “There is 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.” In particular, Rep. Upton and Rep. Walden pointed to a recent situation in which the FCC IG did not take issue with a leak of private information by the office of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. That disclosure led to the breakdown of a bipartisan compromise not favored by the Chairman regarding the Lifeline program. The committee leaders are demanding specific information by the end of this month on “the practical and working relationship” between the FCC Chairman and FCC IG offices.
By Aaron Mercer, Vice President of Government Relations
Published: October 21, 2016