‘Editorial Privileges’ Clipped For FCC Bureaus


Attention, FCC bureaus and offices: Your “editorial privileges” have been edited.

In the latest process reform measure to come from freshly minted FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, “substantive edits” by bureau and office staff that raised the concerns of Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly will no longer be tolerated.

As Pai explained in a statement released Thursday afternoon, the FCC’s monthly Open Meeting sees Commissioners vote on proposals and orders drafted by the Commission’s various bureaus and offices.

“Routinely after each vote in which an item is adopted, the Commission votes to grant the staff of the relevant Bureaus and Offices ‘editorial privileges’—that is, the power to make changes to the documents that the Commissioners have just voted upon,” he said.

But in 2015, O’Rielly began to question these privileges, calling them “too broad.”

Pai agrees.

“Filling in a citation in a document is one thing; changing the meaning of that document is another,” he notes.

Accordingly, effective with the Feb. 23 Open Meeting, editorial privileges granted to Bureaus and Offices will extend only to technical and conforming edits to items.

“Any substantive changes made to items following a meeting must be proposed by a Commissioner,” Pai said. “Moreover, substantive changes to items should only be made in cases in which they are required, pursuant to the Administrative Procedure Act, as a response to new arguments made in a Commissioner’s dissenting statement.”

Pai thanked his Republican colleague for his “hard work on the issue of process reform,” and signaled that there is more to come.

“I look forward to implementing more of his suggestions going forward,” Pai said.