MAP Backs Sunshine Law Change

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Media Access Project has come out in favor of a bill, H.R. 4167, the Federal Communications Commission Collaboration Act, that would allow more than two FCC commissioners to meet privately.

Currently, that is prohibited by sunshine rules because any meeting of federal regulators that represents a quorum must be public, and with only five FCC commissioners, three is a quorum.

MAP points out in its statement of support that it is historically suspect about amending the Sunshine Act, which is about openness and transparency, but says the bill, introduced by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), has been carefully crafted such that it will actually provide for more transparency, not less, since the current restriction has led to meetings between staffers acting as "proxies" for commissioners, meetings whose contents are not disclosed and sometimes include outside parties.

The bill's safeguards are principally that there must be public disclosure of the content of the meetings, and at least one commissioner from each party must be present.