Hearing Wrap Up – FCC: Process and Transparency

Published: Mar 17, 2015



Witness: Tom Wheeler, Chairman, U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  

Click here for a copy of materials distributed at the hearing


  • The FCC IG has opened an investigation on the net neutrality rule making process.
  • During his opening statement, Chairman Wheeler talked about the “evolution of (his) thinking” during the rule making process.
  • Chairman Wheeler said that emails cited at the hearing suggest possible coordination between the White House and activists.
  • The agency was encourage by Chairman Chaffetz to maximize openness and transparency.

Hearing Purpose:

  • The Oversight and Government Reform Committee received 1600 pages of unredacted emails previously provided in a highly redacted form through FOIA requests to various organizations.
  • This hearing was about process, transparency, and what it means to be an “independent agency.” 



  • In late 2010, the Federal Communications Commission released a set of regulations that control how traffic is carried over the internet. However, in early 2014, portions of the regulation were invalidated by a federal court.
  • In November 2014, while the new proposal was being developed, President Obama publicly called on the Commission to adopt strict rules to protect net neutrality. Three months later, Chairman Wheeler submitted a plan to his colleagues on the Commission that is substantially similar to the plant he President advocated.



Key Videos:

Chaffetz: “You met at the White House multiple times during the open comment period and after the comment period closed, and we’re supposed to believe that on one of the most important things the FCC has ever done, this didn’t come up?”

Walker: “I had already known that Al Gore invented the internet, but today I found out…that the President has saved the internet.” 

Jordan: “Leading up to Oct. 30, you met with the White House nine different timesWhat changed between Oct. 30th and Nov. 10?” 

Mica: “Before you were for his (the president’s) position, you were against his position.”