Most of those who have commented on the imminent departure of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski have had the usual kind words, whether he was an ally, a foe or somewhere in between. But in the case of Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) (pictured), the message is less of good bye and more good riddance.
Grassley notably sparred with the FCC over access to documents tied to the FCC’s LightSquared proceeding. The FCC argued that it was bound by Congress’s own rules to provide such access only to members of Congress in the appropriate oversight committees – in its case, Commerce. Grassley was not a member.
Grassley ended up delaying the FCC terms of both Jessica Rosenworcel and Ajit Pai in his effort to get what he wanted.
He eventually received access to documents thanks to the assistance of members of the House Commerce Committee.
Grassley stated, “The FCC’s stonewalling over information on LightSquared was one of the worst instances I’ve seen in 30 years of dealing with federal agencies. It took months of pressure and requests, a hold on two nominees, and the involvement of a House committee for the FCC to begin to share documents on the LightSquared decision.”
Grassley continued, “Under Chairman Genachowski’s leadership, the FCC acted like a privileged organization that didn’t have to answer basic questions about its decision-making process. It’s interesting to see outside groups criticizing Chairman Genachowski for failing to complete key priorities. In my experience over LightSquared, the FCC wasted a lot of time playing games to avoid answering my basic questions. The time spent on obfuscation could have been spent on productive activities for consumers and the economy.
In conclusion, Grassley stated, “The next FCC chairman should scrap the mindset of an elite, closed shop and embrace the commission’s status as a public entity, accountable to the public and the legislative branch, especially on matters of basic oversight.”
RBR-TVBR observation: We still believe it is ridiculous that one person can bring the Senate to a halt despite the fact that 99 others may be ready to proceed. And this tactic was lame on its face – while Genachowski may have wanted the other two commissioners seated, it didn’t really affect his job, and it didn’t affect his ability to get a majority vote since one of the two seated commissioners was in his own party.