House Republicans Concerned About FCC Spending

House Energy & Commerce Committee Republicans have asked the FCC for dollar figures on FCC operations in an ongoing effort to find cost savings. They said they are looking particularly at auction-related expenses and employee compensation.

According to a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, a copy of which was made available by the committee, among their issues are an additional 98 employees in the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau given the "changing role of wireline."

"Because this increased level of staffing contradicts stated efforts to contract the agency and its spending, we are interested in learning more about the commission's need for additional FTE's [full-time employees]." They also want to know more about how contractors are compensated.

And while the FCC is conducting spectrum auctions at the behest of the Congress, specifically per a bill that came out of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, the legislators have concerns about the expenditures the FCC is attributing to "the personnel and administrative costs required to plan and execute spectrum auctions," as well as operational and IT costs associated with the auctions.

They write that they want to know more about the use of auction revenues to cover costs "unrelated to the direct administration and execution of spectrum auctions."

They want answers to a host of questions (see the letter) by Feb. 14.

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.