Commissioner Pai calls out talking policy behind ‘closed doors’
WASHINGTON – Recent rumors have circulated on blogs and from Cablefax.com that the Federal Communications Commission will conduct a “goodwill tour” of Wall Street in an effort to improve relationships with the business world and send the signal that the agency is not hostile to the industry it regulates.
Despite no official confirmation that the commission intends to undertake such an effort, FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has released a statement that seemingly confirms the rumors and is a blistering rebuke of the FCC’s relationship with business.
Pai said, “It’s the commission’s arbitrary and massive regulatory overreach over the past two years. With broadband providers’ capital expenditures falling, widespread concerns about the design of the incentive auction and an enforcement scheme unconstrained by the rule of law, the Commission shouldn’t be focused on better marketing. What’s needed are better policies – policies that make economic sense, that spur greater investment in and deployment of broadband infrastructure, and that give entrepreneurs the certainty they need to innovate and succeed.”
This comes on the heels of the FCC’s other Republican member Michael O’Rielly lamenting the commission’s plethora of lawyers but lack of economists. At the Prosperity Caucus-hosted event, O’Rielly called the FCC’s support for municipal telecommunications infrastructure “borderline socialism.”
Pai blasted the tangled web that comprises the FCC review process: “Another reported purpose of the trip is to clear up confusion about the commission’s merger review process, confusion partly stemming from a recent speech by the commission’s legal staff. I certainly agree that the commission’s approach to transactions has been opaque and incoherent.”
Pai concluded by criticizing the undemocratic nature of direct discussion with Wall Street. ”FCC policy should be set straight in public by the five FCC commissioners nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, not behind closed doors on Wall Street for the benefit of a selected group of insiders,” he said.