House Republicans may be pushing back on President Joe Biden’s nominee for a third Democrat on the Federal Communications Commission, but they are pushing him to nominate an inspector general for the agency as it hands out billions of dollars in broadband subsidies.
That came in a letter to the president signed by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), House Energy & Commerce Committee ranking member; Robert Latta (R-Ohio), House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology ranking member; and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio).
The RAY BAUM's Act of 2018 made the FCC IG a presidential appointee, which means the Senate must sign off on the pick. But since then, the lawmakers said, the presidentially appointed position has remained vacant. The current unappointed IG remains in place, but that has been for moe than a year and a half, the lawmakers said.
They noted that the current IG — David Hunt — issued an advisory about fraud and abuse in broadband subsidy programs, but given the “unprecedented” funding involved they want a nomination to the post expedited.
Back in March, Hunt put out an advisory to users and providers of the FCC's Lifeline, Emergency Broadband Benefit and Affordable Connectivity Program subsidies of “improper and abusive enrollment practices that are part of some providers’ online enrollment processes.”
Republicans have long questioned the independence of the FCC IG. ■
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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.