GAO: FCC Gives Preferential Treatment To Lobbyists, Company-Sponsored Data

It’s well known that folks at the FCC have a rather chummy relationship with the telco industry. After all, many of them either worked in the industry at one point or (more importantly) expect to get lucrative jobs in the industry after they leave the FCC. So it probably should come as no surprise to find out that the FCC tends to favor industry lobbyists and industry data to that of the consumers whose interests the FCC is supposed to be safeguarding. This is according to the GAO who has been doing a fantastic job highlight questionable government activity — specifically with the FCC. In this latest report, there are two key things, both of which are quite troubling. First, the FCC often reveals important information to industry lobbyists, including information on new rulemaking efforts, votes and even how Commissioners intend to vote. This information is often not equally shared with consumer advocates, leaving them at a tremendous disadvantage. Second, in doing research for rulemaking, the FCC often relies on the data submitted to them, by industry representatives. And we all know how trustworthy that is likely to be. It’s also probably worth pointing out that the GAO provided a draft of the report to the FCC and asked for comment, to which the FCC replied “no comment.” Indeed. It appears no comment is really needed.