Government for (Artificial) People

Shades of Dick Cheney’s energy committee? Does this sound as outrageous to you as it does to me?

Dunbar, John. 2006. “FCC Briefing for Investors, Not the Public.” Associated Press (30 November).

“With federal regulators deadlocked on what may prove to be the largest telecommunications merger in history, news about progress on the deal has become scarce and highly coveted. So the small group of clients of Banc of America Securities LLC were privileged Wednesday to get an exclusive briefing from top-ranking staff of the Federal Communications Commission at a hotel a block away from agency headquarters. The meeting was described as “timely” in a brief item in Communications Daily, the telecommunications industry newsletter, with “topics including the AT&T/BellSouth merger and net neutrality pending at the Commission”.”

“The meeting, however, was not open to the public or the media it was for Banc of America “clients only.” When a reporter from The Associated Press walked into the meeting room during a lunch break, he was escorted out by Banc of America Securities’ managing director, David W. Barden.”

“The list of speakers scheduled to appear included the acting bureau chief of the Wireless Bureau, Catherine Seidel; the chief of the Wireline Bureau, Thomas Navin; and the chief of the Media Bureau, Donna Gregg.”

“The commission is currently deadlocked on the proposed buyout of BellSouth Corp. by AT&T Inc. The FCC is also considering a major rewrite of rules regarding media ownership.”

“Industry executives regularly meet with FCC commissioners and staff at the agency’s headquarters to lobby for their companies, and those meetings are not public.


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