Dem lawmakers accuse FCC chair of evading congressional oversight

Dem lawmakers accuse FCC chair of evading congressional oversight
© Greg Nash

A group of House Democrats on Wednesday accused Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai (R) of trying to evade congressional oversight of his agency.

The 13 Democrats on the House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, which oversees the FCC, sent a letter to Pai calling him out for failing to respond to oversight letters or fully answering questions during congressional testimony.

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“While we appreciate your continued willingness to testify before our Committee, we are concerned that you have been unable to give complete responses to verbal questions, questions for the record or oversight letters from our members,” the Democrats wrote. “We take our oversight responsibilities very seriously, and we expect witnesses before the Committee and recipients of our letters to treat their responses the same way.”

The members also attached 26 letters they’ve sent to which they say the agency hasn't fully responded. They asked Pai to respond with written answers by June 4.

“We have already responded to twenty-one of the letters in question and look forward to responding to the remaining few in the near future,” FCC spokesman Brian Hart said in a statement.  

The FCC chair has repeatedly clashed with congressional Democrats throughout his time leading the agency. He has often dismissed lawmakers’ criticisms of his efforts to roll back net neutrality rules and media ownership restrictions as politically motivated.

—Updated at 1:13 p.m. This post has been updated to reflect that the House Democrats claimed the FCC did not fully answer the questions contained in the 26 additional letters.