FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn called last Friday “take out the trash day.” She was referring to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai’s move to reverse decisions made by the previous FCC administration. She said the changes were made without a shred of explanation. Clyburn said the items reversed “focus on competition, consumer protection, cybersecurity, and other issues core to the FCC’s mission.” Here’s Clyburn’s full statement.
“In the past, then-Commissioner Pai was critical of the agency majority for not providing sufficient reasoning behind its decisions, citing specifically to the Supreme Court case Fox v. FCC which states: ‘[T]he requirement that an agency provide reasoned explanation for its action would ordinarily demand that it display awareness that it is changing position. An agency may not, for example, depart from a prior policy sub silentio[.]’
“It is a basic principle of administrative procedure that actions must be accompanied by reasons for that action, else that action is unlawful. Yet that is exactly what multiple bureaus have done today. The bureaus rescind prior bureau actions by simply citing a rule that allows them to do so, when in prior invocations of that rule there have been oft-lengthy explanations for the reasoning behind the actions.
“My office requested more than the allotted two days to review the dozen items released today. We were rebuffed. Then, we simply asked to have the bureaus comply with the reasoned decision-making requirements of the APA. No deal. It is disappointing to see this Chairman engage in the same actions for which he criticized the prior Chairman. I am hopeful that in the future this Commission, consistent with our shared commitment to increased transparency, will heed the APA’s requirement for reasoned decision-making. The American public deserves no less.”