Kevin Martin for the defense


House Energy & Commerce Committee Chair John Dingell addressed his concerns about "an apparent breakdown" of procedure at the FCC with a five-question quiz for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin. In a prompt response, Martin explained how he follows established procedure.

Asked about publishing the text of rules under consideration, Martin noted that it was not a requirement. Proposed rulemakings are announced and comment and reply periods established. This becomes part of the record, guiding the rulemaking within the FCC, which leads to the commissioner vote. He said he does in fact provide his fellow commissioners with relevant data; he said commissioner rule review time is adequate and is handled just as it was 10 years ago under then-Chairman Bill Kennard (D); he said he will continue to provide at three weeks notice of upcoming open meeting, with a list of items already in circulation that he plans to consider; and that the FCC retains documents according to policies of the National Archive and Records Administration.

At the FCC oversight hearing last week, both Democratic commissioners – Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein – said there were times in which they felt there were procedural breakdowns of one kind or another, and Robert McDowell (R) said that on occasion there were problems. Dingell and relevant subcommittee chair Bart Stupak (D) have promised a hearing on FCC procedure.