Dems Slam Pai Over Alleged Nonresponsiveness

House Democrats, who have a bone to pick with FCC chairman Ajit Pai over numerous issues from broadcast and net neutrality deregulation to merger review and broadband subsidies, also have a bone to pick with what they say has been a lack of responsiveness to their queries about those and other issues. The chairman's office countered that he has provided answers and will be giving them more.

That came in a letter from every Democratic member of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Communications Subcommittee. 

They pulled no punches. 

"[W]e are concerned about your repeated evasive responses to our inquiries and our outright refusal to respond to some members of this Committee," they wrote the chairman. 

They said they appreciated his willingness to testify before the committee, but said he had provided incomplete responses both at those hearings and to follow-up questions and letters from them.

They included a host of letters they say the chairman has yet to answer completely, adding they want complete, written responses to those by June 4.

“We have already responded to 21 of the letters in question and look forward to responding to the remaining few in the near future,”  said an FCC spokesperson.

It is not the first time House E&C Dems have pressed an FCC chair for more answers. In 2015, a quartet of leading committee Dems were not happy with Chairman Tom Wheeler's answers at an oversight hearing, and wrote him to say they were looking for a lot more information than they got. That letter's tone of admonishment, if relatively mild, struck some Hill watchers as unusual coming from the same party as the chairman.In fact, three of the four signatories to that Wheeler letter back in 2015 were also on this week's letter to Pai.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.