The United States House of Representatives, specifically 13 members of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, penned a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai calling out perceived evasive behavior. According to the letter, Pai has been giving evasive and dismissive answers to some representatives, while outright refusing to answer questions and inquiries from some others. In total, 13 members of Congress and the House signed the open letter, calling on Chairman Pai to honor a previous assertion he made, that it is important for regulatory bodies in the US government to be kept up on the FCC’s business, and to provide straight answers.
To demonstrate their point and perhaps garner a few of the answers they seek, the letter writers attached 13 older letters pertaining to net neutrality or adjacent issues that Pai has yet to answer, and directly asked in the main letter that he issue official responses to the attached ones. The letters range in topic from wireless 911 issues to FCC meetings on net neutrality with no official record, and even the transparency of content originating from Russia that was broadcast or put on the internet during the course of the 2016 Presidential election. The wide range of topics all have two things in common; they’re all about issues that the subcommittee that wrote the letter would be tasked with helping the FCC to handle, and they’ve all gone completely without acknowledgement or answer from Pai. Many of these letters date back to the beginning of the year, before the Title II net neutrality repeal was officially signed into law. Ajit Pai and the FCC have yet to put out any official response to the main letter or any of the attached letters.
This issue goes beyond net neutrality, though that is a hot-button political topic right now. The main letter points to Ajit Pai dodging questions or failing to answer letters and inquiries on a more general note, robbing Congress of the ability to exercise oversight over the FCC, a duty that is consigned to Congress, the House of Representatives and its various committees and subcommittees by definition. With the FCC in the spotlight as the battle over net neutrality refuses to die down, Pai and the FCC’s commissioners are unlikely to simply ignore this letter or give a short, dismissive answer and risk further discrediting the commission.