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Congress Changes FCC IG Structure

FCC org chart change

There has been a lot of press on the $1.3T spending bill that POTUS signed on March 23rd. However, there has been little press on the telecom provisions that are included in this 2000+ page bill. One that was particularly gratifying to your blogger was Sec. 501, Independent Inspector General for FCC. (p. 1869)

(As a public service, SpectrumTalk is providing a link here to the telecommunications provisions of the spending bill.)

Long time readers may recall we have been pointing out for 6 years the failures of the structure of the current FCC IG office. All the FCC IGs since the position was created in 1989 have been FCC insiders who were well known to the 8th Floor leadership and unlikely to ask too many questions. This has been true under both parties. So while the FCC IG has the same exact oversight duties as the IG at larger agencies under the IG Act, the FCC IG has consistently spent nearly all his resources, now 50+ FTEs, looking an noncontroversial issues like USF fraud. The overall effectiveness of FCC seemed of little interest. In addition, the lack of an effective IG made FCC as a whole less credible as there was no way to investigate suspicious of improper conduct on policy in a timely credible way.

Your blogger was complexly surprised by the passage of this provision and did not know it was under active consideration. We hope our repeated blogging on the issue was a positive factor in Congress recognizing this problem and correcting it.

The new FCC IG will be nominated by POTUS and subject to senate confirmation and congressional oversight.


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