US Lawmakers' Probe Makes More Demands on Media Watchdog

14 March 2008

WASHINGTON DC: US lawmakers have ramped up their probe into the Byzantine workings of media watchdog, the Federal Communications Commission, and are demanding sight of emails, memos, handwritten notes and meeting schedules.

The Oversight Subcommittee, comprising senior Congressmen from both sides of the politcal divide, is investigating how the FCC has conducted its open meetings.

It is also looking at how Republican chairman Kevin J Martin circulated items among the four other commissioners and how the commission put together reports, such as a controversial study on cable programming sales.

According to the committee, it is scrutinizing "management practices that may adversely affect the commission's ability both to discharge effectively its statutory duties and to guard against waste, fraud, and abuse".

The FCC has said it will to cooperate with the inquiry and officials have two weeks to provide the requested information.

The investigation was launched late last year following disquiet over Martin's contentious and ultimately failed attempts to extend the FCC's jurisdiction over cable companies.

There were complaints at the time that he had not provided his fellow commissioners with enough data to allow them to come to an informed decision.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff