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FCC Investigation Continues

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee Subcomitte on Oversight and Investigations, said he will continue investigating the FCC, saying that there are still allegations that have not been fully investigated or resolved.

He said that is because the FCC has still not released all the information the committee is looking for, as well as due to allegations only recently lodged, and the unwillingness of some folks to come forward while Martin remains chairman.

The committee released a report Monday highly critical of the FCC process under Martin

, calling it an abuse of power that led to a dysfunctional agency. Stupak said the report was issued before the investigation was completed so that it could be a "blueprint" for what not do to for the new chairman appointed by President-elect Barack Obama.

He said he did not advocate congress stepping in to legislate, arguing that would be the kind of micromanagement the report charges Martin with. He said he thought that the blueprint, if used as that negative blueprint, would be a faster way to effect change at the agency, particularly given that Congress' legislative calendar would be filled with issues like the economy, healthcare and the war in Iraq.

While it was a majority report, meaning from the Democrats, he said that Republican members had seen it, and did not ask that anything be changed or push back against its release.

"This is the beginning, not the end. I will be following up on this," Stupak said.

Spokespeople for FCC Chairman Kevin Martin responded to the report Tuesday, saying they took issue with the charges, and that the chairman " makes no apologies for his commitment to serving deaf and disabled Americans and for fighting to lower exorbitantly high cable rates that consumers are forced to pay.”

Those were references to allegations he had manipulated information in a pair of reports, one finding that a la carte cable service was a workable business model, the other that a regulatory threshhold had been met that would allow for reregulation of cable, as well as to the charge the FCC had hundreds of millions of dollars in overpayments for a special phone service for the deaf.