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Communications Government Network Republicans The Internet United States

FCC Is Not Complying With Freedom of Information Act Requests, Alleges Lawsuit (arstechnica.com) 105

burtosis writes: The FCC is being sued for failure to turn over documents related to "correspondence, e-mails, telephone call logs, calendar entries, meeting agendas," between chairman Ajit or his staff and ISPs. Given the FCCs recent transparency issues, which appear to be directly ignoring the vast majority of feedback from Americans that are pro net neutrality, a nonprofit group called American Oversight is trying to force the real conversations the FCC is holding into public view. They are also asking for any communications with the media, Congress, and congressional staff. Two extensions for missed deadlines have been given, but the third extension was denied on July 24th. The FCC also ignored a FOiA request by Ars for the DDoS attack during the public comment period on net neutrality. With the current administration's attitude toward transparency and catering only to the largest corporate donors, will the American people have any meaningful influence in how the country is run anymore?
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FCC Is Not Complying With Freedom of Information Act Requests, Alleges Lawsuit

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  • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @09:08AM (#54890373)

    "With the current administration's attitude toward transparency and catering only to the largest corporate donors, will the American people have any meaningful influence in how the country is run anymore?"

    Uh, current administration?

    Can someone tell me when the last time any administration was completely transparent and somehow didn't cater to their largest corporate donors? For fucks sake, this has been going on so long it's now considered an American tradition. Not even you great grandfather remembers a time when this wasn't true.

    The American People became irrelevant long ago.

    • This administraton _IS_ transparent.

      We can see right through them.

      • They are *not* transparent! Trump's dad was a real man and Trump will tweet you to death if you say otherwise!
        • They are *not* transparent! Trump's dad was a real man and Trump will tweet you to death if you say otherwise!

          His dad, maybe, but I heard Trump himself wasn't man enough to join the army. If you know what I mean.

    • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @09:25AM (#54890465) Homepage
      Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all had serious transparency issues and trouble paying attention to public feedback. However, neither Bush nor Obama was by and large that bad, and the current administration is so bad it makes the previous ones look like paragons of transparency and responsiveness.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The FCC position has not changed during this administration - I don't see any reason to bring that up and I don't see any direct involvement from the administration in the FCC's handling of this. What attitude towards transparency are you referring to ? POTUS taxes ? Bogus collusion smears from anonymous sources by the CNN?
        I am no fan of Trump but none of those arguments has anything to do with governmental transparency.
        That is like saying Obama's administration was not transparent because he didn't show hi

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Native English speakers don't refer to it as "the CNN".

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bobbied ( 2522392 )

        I guess it depends on your political prospective.

        I saw Bush as somewhat opaque, but not unpleasantly or unreasonably so. Clinton was documented as a liar and was very misleading and opaque when push came to shove politically. But Obama was the textbook definition of opaque for 8 full years.

        I don't think Trump is opaque in the least, which is actually partly responsible for his PR problems. What you see is what you get with Trump, warts and all. He tweets out ill-advised stuff based on his feelings at

        • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Thursday July 27, 2017 @10:19AM (#54890833) Homepage
          Trump tweeting whatever crap is on his mind is not transparency when government agencies are not responding to basic FOIA requests and where all sorts of basic government reports have been taken off-line or deleted; http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/02/wildlife-watch-usda-animal-welfare-trump-records/ [nationalgeographic.com] is one example.
          • Seriously? Some low level pawn takes some USDA information off line for a reason you don't like and you bludgeon Trump for being opaque?

            Which FOIA requests are you concerned about? As I recall there are complaints that Obama's administration didn't cough up a bunch of stuff that didn't seem to be fostering transparency... Stuff about Benghazi was routinely slow rolled as was information about Clinton's involvement, ostensibly because the "public story" didn't match the "actual facts" and there was an el

        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          if stringing together unrelated thoughts into a confusing mess is thinking for you, then yes, we get to see how Trump "thinks".

          • Yea, I don't think Trump's tweeting is a good idea either, but you have to admit that it's exactly the opposite of being opaque... It's sort of a blow by blow stream of how Trump thinks though things, unfiltered, unvarnished and unPC. I see them as more of a brainstorming session where Trump is spit balling his ideas to see how they sound... Decidedly NOT filtered or edited, transparent. He's not hiding anything, good or bad from his twitter followers.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashiki.gmail@com> on Thursday July 27, 2017 @10:10AM (#54890735) Homepage

        Not even close to true. See how many times Judicial Watch [judicialwatch.org] and Legal Insurrection [legalinsurrection.com] have filed lawsuits for information that's supposed to be public record. There is still standing lawsuits in the courts as holdovers from the Obama administration, and several cases where people in the previous administration have directly refused to turn over information that's public record despite court orders. If you think that the current administration is bad, then the previous one would be right around the blackest of nights, on the darkest of nights in terms of transparency. The Obama administration was very good at showmanship of trying to peddle transparency but that was it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Yes, Obama promised to shut down Guantanamo and ended up being worse for civil liberties than Bush. He promised transparency, but his legacy is the war on whistleblowers [salon.com] and an expansion of the powers needed to prosecute that war that now belongs to future presidents. [twitter.com]

      • You are comparing 8 months to 8 years. Can you even give a meaningful comparison with such a disparity of time frames? Especially when speaking of a something that inherently moves as slow as government?

        I'm not a big fan of our current POTUS but perhaps, just maybe, we could give him some time to clear out the old Obama holdovers and see how their replacements act before calling him worse than Clinton, Obama, AND Bush?

        How long should we wait before judgement? I don't know, two years perhaps, let him go t

      • Please cite some actual evidence, not just regurgitating your left wing propaganda. Saying you are transparent (like Obama did) is not the same as being transparent. The Obama administration was the least transparent presidency in modern times, cutting out reporters regularly, using white house staff to photograph and film instead of reporters so they could control and "produce" events to their liking, stonewalling FOIs (there are still dozens pending from the Obama administration days) lying to judges so

    • Since the subject of this thread is the FCC and title II. We can safely say the last administration. Tom Wheeler did not obstruct or hide things.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    have they ever?

  • Why would he comply?

    He has a lot to lose if it were to be made completely public.
  • who in their right mind does not do a post mortem or at least send a email (OOB) when their infrastructure is suffering from what you might call a DDOS

    under american law would they have to turn over records to prove they didnt send anything ?


  • Among that supposed smoking-gun treasure trove of information you want, you might find things that you didn't want to know about.

  • It's almost time to vote from the rooftops
  • "With the current administration's attitude toward transparency and catering only to the largest corporate donors, will the American people have any meaningful influence in how the country is run anymore?"

    You seem to think this is a new phenomena but the American people DID NOT have meaningful influence with the previous administration or the one before that or the one before that, and so on...
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      Actually, the current administration is the most transparent in decades. The last administration was the least transparent based on actual facts and historical evidence (as opposed to liberal propaganda). Furthermore, the current ADMINISTRATION is populist in most of it's positions, as opposed to the Republican party in general who is much more pro business as you indicated.

  • vast majority of feedback from Americans that are pro net neutrality

    Citation needed. Badly...

  • Do what happens to anyone else when they disobey a court order. Send in the US Marshalls (FOI go through federal court I believe) and arrest everyone there and throw them in jail for a week for contempt of court. Then haul them before the judge and let them explain how they are going to meet the FOI and give them a week to do it. If they don't do it or make good faith progress, throw them back in jail and lose the key. Also revoke any position they hold for failure to discharge their office. That may h

    • by msk ( 6205 )

      mod parent up

      • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

        There's more to the story than the parent suggests.

        The US Marshals ultimately get their marching orders from the DOJ, which in turn works for the President.

        Ultimately, the only way charges can be brought is if the President decides to enforce the law, which isn't mandatory in practice. (Congress has yet to impeach a President for not enforcing a law -- and there is a long history of Presidents ignoring laws).

        That sets up the administrations current annoyance:

        * President Trump knows he has the authority to f

        • The reason Nixon was forced out in the end was that there as actually a criminal act (the Watergate break-in). So far there is zero evidence of criminal activity (meeting with someone, anyone, who says they have evidence that your political rival is engaged in criminal activity is not only perfectly legal, it is also your civic duty).

          I might think the Russian investigation was legitimate if there were evidence that someone:

          1. Actually hacked the election, which did not happen.
          2. Actually had evidence of

          • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

            Nixon's crime was "Obstruction of Justice" by firing everybody involved until he got to somebody who would halt the investigation.

            There was zero evidence that he was involved with Watergate, or that it was done on his orders. Conjecture sure; but no hard proof. (Unless you count the missing minutes in his tapes as "proof" - no court would).

            If there actually was proof that Nixon was directly involved in watergate, he would have been screwed to the wall faster than you can say "wha?".

            I don't think that trump

            • The Obama FBI and Comey started investigating Russian Trump ties/collusion/influence whatever you want to call it back before (or right after) the election. That is easily 8 months plus. (That is how Susan Rice was able to unmask people and then leak it to damage the Trump administration.) They didn't find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Muller has access to all of those records and works plus his own team looking for several additional months.

              This is exactly opposite to how criminal investigations

              • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

                Look: I've not really said anything in this thread defending (or promoting) anything the Democrats have done. To me, it's a turd from a different animal. Different, but it's still a turd.

                I've watched the (global) political shitshow long enough to know that however much I like (or dislike) any given administration, in the end not much really happens because the Federal government was designed to be a roadblock — specifically to avoid waves of major changes with each new election (as is found in other n

                • No argument from me that the Trump administration is not filled with career politicians. This added to the fact that there are hundreds if not thousands of Obama holdovers trying to sabotage the administration (a la 121 leaks in the first 120 days) and numerous PR blunders by the administration has definitely been detrimental to the Trump administration, but you can't argue that the media is extremely hostile to Trump as well (CNN had something like 89% negative coverage of Trump since the inauguration).

                  • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

                    The media is, on the whole, hostile to every president. It comes with the job; competing interests and no way to actually meet them all.

                    You think Obama didn't have news media hating on him? It was about the equivalent time in his presidency that "Obamacare" was coined, he passed a massive (and controversial) bailout bill, and bumper stickers with him photoshopped as "the joker", and "why so socialist" was everywhere — to say nothing of the birther crowds, and newspapers & talk radio saying he'd re

                    • Is that why Chris Mathews had a thrill run up his leg during the Obama inauguration? https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

                      Obama had the friendliest media coverage in the last 30 plus years. George W. Bush was treated so unfairly by the establishment media that it literally launched Fox news as one of the largest cable news outlets because people (especially conservatives) were so sick of the rampant left wing bias. By any meaningful statistic George W Bush and Trump have both been treated horribly by the pre

    • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

      Do what happens to anyone else when they disobey a court order. Send in the US Marshals (FOI go through federal court I believe) and arrest everyone there and throw them in jail for a week for contempt of court.

      Since the days of George Washington, there's been a longstanding tradition of Presidents ignoring laws they don't like. The fact of the matter is the executive branch executes the laws. The President is the one who holds the reigns of the DOJ, which governs the US Marshals and FBI(among other things, of course).

      If the executive wants to quash transparency and refuse FOIA requests, it can tell the DOJ to ignore enforcement, regardless of what the law says. The courts can't force the US marshals to do anythin

      • Yes, the president is immune to contempt of court, but not the FCC.

        The FCC is not part of the executive branch:

        The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent agency of the United States government created by statute (47 U.S.C. 151 and 47 U.S.C. 154) to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable. It reports directly to congress.

        So no, it is not on Trump that the FCC is violating legal FOI requests and is in contempt of court. And it's members are not

        • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

          I must not have been clear: The FCC is not part of the executive; not question there.

          My point is that the President can direct the DOJ to ignore the FCC violating FOI requests.

          I'm not saying he has but that he can.

"Everyone's head is a cheap movie show." -- Jeff G. Bone