Summary of FCC Ex Parte Rules Governing Congressional Communications The Commission has rules in place to ensure transparency and fairness in our proceedings. The rules include procedures covering some Congressional communications with the agency. In some types of proceedings, Congressional communication must be placed in the agency’s official record or served on the parties who are participating in the relevant proceeding. Below we describe our rules governing “ex parte” communications and the procedures for Congressional communications
- Member X writes to the Commission about a pending application. The Member asks to be informed of the status of the application and expresses concern that the application has been pending for an excessive period of time. The Member's letter is a status inquiry and not a presentation.
- The Member requests that the application be acted on by the end of the year or states that expeditious action is needed because the applicant has business arrangements that require prompt action. The Member’s letter is an ex parte presentation (unless it is served on the parties).
- The Member asks about the status of the application and attaches a “fact sheet” directed to the Member and prepared by the applicant. The “fact sheet” argues that the Commission should grant the application. The Member’s letter and the attachment are an ex parte presentation (unless they are served on the parties).
- Member X writes to the Media Bureau addressing issues concerning a pending radio license application. The application has been opposed at the Commission in a petition to deny, but the Member does not serve the letter on the opponent petitioner. The letter will be placed in the record and Commission staff will serve the letter on the applicant and the petitioner.
- If the Member discusses the merits of the application with FCC staff without prior notice to the parties and an opportunity for them to participate, the FCC staff must prepare a memorandum summarizing the call, which will be placed in the record and the parties so notified.
- Member X writes to the Chairman or another Commissioner about a pending rulemaking. The Member expresses the view that the proposed rule would be beneficial and consistent with Congress’s intent. The staff will place the letter in the record of the rulemaking.
- Member X calls the Chairman and orally states the same views. The staff will place a memorandum summarizing the contents of the call in the record.
- Two days before an open meeting at which the Commission is scheduled to consider a Report and Order, Member X calls an FCC Commissioner to urge inclusion of a provision favored by the Member. The staff will place a memorandum summarizing the phone call in the record of the rulemaking.