Two leading consumer groups today suggested that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) eliminate the practice of allowing private meetings with FCC commissioners and staff. They made the suggestions in comments filed with the FCC. A copy of the comments is here.
In the comments filed with the FCC, which asked for suggestions on how to change the “ex parte” system that requires reporting of such meetings, Public Knowledge and the Consumer Federation of America suggested three options for the Commission to consider. The strongest is to ban private, oral presentations from interested parties to FCC staff. “Oral presentations would still be allowed at public hearings and similarly open venues, but private meetings about issues pending before the Commission would be eliminated,” the groups said. Many such meetings also include written presentations, which could be submitted, the comments noted.
The groups made two other suggestions, there could be a video recording made of meetings with Commissioners and staff. The groups said: “In the age of YouTube and other online video services, where cameras and microphones are inexpensive and widely available, there is no reason why every oral ex parte presentation could not simply be recorded and made available to the public.” The groups also suggested as a third option that a neutral third party, such as a Commission staff member not involved in the proceeding, record the contents of the meeting.
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