FCC Revises Its Ex Parte Rules

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The Federal Communications Commission has revised its ex parte rules, which generally prohibit meetings with decision-making staff concerning a contested proceeding unless full disclosure of the participants and content is made on the public record. Although these rules may seem mostly designed for attorneys and lobbyists, anyone having business before the FCC needs to be aware of their existence, when they apply and what they prohibit.

The basic principle is that one side may not try to influence an FCC decision-maker (including all staff involved in the process) without full disclosure and enabling all other interested parties to present their views as well. In general, the rules apply to any contested matter, including rulemakings, complaints and mutually-exclusive or challenged applications or requests for relief. Unopposed applications, meetings in which all sides participate, and written communications served on all other interested parties are generally exempt.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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