An investigative report by the House Energy and Commerce Committee has come down hard on FCC Chairman Kevin Martin for the way he's politicized his job and, more importantly, the way he explained telecommunications policy to Congress. The report said Martin, a frequent positive keynoter at telecom events, was not nearly as collegial in his dealings with FCC staffers, fellow commissioners or Congress.
The report could be dismissed as divisive politics as usual since the Republican-appointed Martin is closing out his term and the Democrats have the chance to punish the previous administration, but it's actually bipartisan. The report has been in the works for a year as Congress has become increasingly chafed about its dealings with Martin's "heavy-handed, opaque and non-collegial management style" running the FCC.
Martin, the report said, improperly influenced Congress by manipulating data on the benefits of cable "a la carte" channel pricing; tried to manipulate data on the state of competition for cable and other video services; and led an FCC that was lax in overcompensating companies that provide special telecommunications services for people with hearing or speech disabilities and paid as much as $100 million a year too much to those companies. He also micromanaged the commission and demoted staffers who did not agree with him, the report said.
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