Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has been battling the FCC over its dealings in a proceeding involving LightSquared, and has been expressing his displeasure with the FCC’s perceived lack of cooperation by holding up Senate confirmation of two nominees to the Commission. The Hill is reporting that it’s gotten to the point that members of his own party are telling Grassley to let it go, a report Grassley’s staff disputes.
According to The Hill, it is no small thing that the Republican nominee, Ajit Pai, has the strong backing of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). The Democratic nominee is Jessica Rosenworcel.
The Hill says that according to key Republican staffers, Senate Republicans have been asking Grassley to release the two candidates. Further, the staffers said that despite Grassley’s concerns, there does not seem to be any evidence of improper conduct in the handling of the LightSquared matter.
Grassley’s staff insists that the FCC has lacked transparency and wasted taxpayer money, and that his hold on the two nominees is in fact supported by his Republican colleagues.
The FCC refused to turn over documents and interview opportunities with certain FCC staffers to Grassley in accordance with congressional rules directing it to respond only to members of a committee with FCC oversight. Grassley sits on no such committee.
Grassley was given access to FCC documents by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but found the material to be unsatisfactory.
The Hill also reports the FCC is preparing to turn over more documents to the House panel.
RBR-TVBR observation: As taxpayers, we find it disturbing that the Senate’s extra-Constitutional rules allow one senator to lord it over the other 99. If Mr. Grassley can convince 50 of his colleagues to stop the nominations, fine. How can we judge Mr. Grassley’s persuasive power? Simple: Put it to a vote.