Chaffetz wants unredacted emails from FCC

House Oversight Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzThe myth of the conservative bestseller Elijah Cummings, Democratic chairman and powerful Trump critic, dies at 68 House Oversight panel demands DeVos turn over personal email records MORE (R-Utah) on Friday fired off his third letter this month in his probe into whether the White House had an improper role in the Federal Communications Commission’s development of net neutrality rules. 

On Friday, Chaffetz requested a set of unredacted emails that were included in a Vice News article Friday and date back to last April — shortly before FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled his initial draft net neutrality plan. 

The heavily redacted April emails obtained by Vice show an unnamed official alerting the White House about an upcoming New York Times article. John Podesta, an adviser to President Obama at the time, described it as a “brutal story” and asked if someone planned to respond on the record. 


The Times article reference an increased lobbying push by advocates who were disappointed that Wheeler’s plan was not stronger. Wheeler has pivoted to stronger rules since then, and the commission is scheduled to vote next week on a plan to reclassify broadband Internet similar to traditional telephones in order to enforce the rules. 

Chaffetz wants a copy of the unredacted emails by Monday. 

Chaffetz’s original deadline for the FCC to produce a broad swath of documents, communications and visitors logs was Friday. That original request was made two weeks ago. 

In a second letter earlier this week, Chaffetz expressed concern about the FCC’s preservation of documents after his staff met with lawyers from the commission. 

He has asked Wheeler’s office and all other staffers working on net neutrality not to delete any document in their possession. Chaffetz expressed concern that the FCC general counsel’s instructions to staff to retain the documents were incomplete. 

“A shallow or incomplete production of documents will require the committee to consider using its full range of tools to obtain the complete universe of relevant records,” he said in his letter earlier this week.