The House Oversight Committee is launching a congressional investigation into the Federal Communications Commission over its secrecy surrounding the Obama administration's plans for regulating Internet service providers.
The committee is concerned that the White House is exerting undue influence over the supposedly independent and bipartisan FCC to create new regulations that favor so-called net neutrality of the Web, according to The Washington Free Beacon
The inquiry was sparked by a decision from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler not to reveal his agency's latest draft of sweeping new Internet regulations until after the agency has voted on the regulations at the end of the month.
Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, sent a letter to Wheeler demanding that the FCC preserve all of its internal net neutrality-related documents produced since a federal court struck down its previous net neutrality rules in January 2014.
The FCC was told that it had has until the end of next week to hand over all net neutrality-related communications between the agency's employees, the White House, and other executive branch agencies over the past 13 months, according to the Beacon.
Chaffetz also informed Wheeler that the committee has the authority to investigate "any matter" at "any time."
During a Twitter question-and-answer session last week, Gigi Sohn, the FCC's special counsel for external affairs, defended Wheeler's secrecy over releasing the draft, the report said.
Noting that there had been 4 million public comments, many of them supportive of net neutrality, Sohn added, "our proposal is based on that record."
According to the Beacon, the FCC has ignored repeated requests from a Vice News reporter under the Freedom of Information Act for information about the telecom industry's influence over the net neutrality proceedings.
During his first White House campaign in 2008, President Barack Obama said he planned to introduce a policy of net neutrality — which requires Internet service providers to charge the same price for the transmittal of data regardless of the type of data being transmitted.
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