Corruption Update: Obama State Department Won’t Say How Missing Records For $6B Were Stored

State Department Won’t Say How Missing Records For $6 Billion Were Stored – American Thinker

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A spokesperson for the State Department refuses to say if any missing contract files from March 2008 – March 2014 were stored electronically.

The American Thinker began covering the case of the missing records for $6 billion on April 5, 2014, soon after the State Department’s Office of Inspector General released two unclassified memos dated March 20, 2014.

Several news media outlets also covered the missing State Department records in early April, but, to date, there’s been little, if any, follow-up to the story. In short, it’s off the mainstream media radar.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

The fact that Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State for four of the six years covered by the missing files may explain the reluctance of the State Department to answer simple, factual inquiries about the missing records.

On September 14, 2014, the American Thinker followed-up its April 2014 story noting this quote from a Department of State spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous:

“At this time, the Department continues to work on the issues raised by the OIG in its audit and to improve its file management. We are in regular communication with the OIG [Office of Inspector General] to update them on our progress.”

Does “work on the issues” mean trying to locate the missing records? Or just cleaning up the accounting processes per. the OIG’s recommendations?

Below is a subsequent email thread, in sequence from September 16-22, which involved the anonymous spokesperson as well as three officials in the OIG (Office of the Inspector General). Names and email addresses are deleted.

From: Lee Cary
Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 2:25 PM
To: Spokesperson, Department of State
Cc: OIC Official #1 @state.gov; OIC Official #2 @state.gov; OIC Official#3 @state.gov
Subject: Media Query 9/16/14

Spokesperson’s name deleted,

Press Officer & Spokesperson

United States Department of State

202.____-____

Re. “Specifically, over the past 6 years, OIG has identified Department of State (Department) contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all.” (Statement in first paragraph of March 20, 2014 document, “Management Alert Contract File Management Deficiencies”)

Name deleted,

I hope this finds you well.

Two questions:

1. Do the incomplete and/or missing files represent paper and/or electronic documents?

2. If one or more of the incomplete or missing files are electronic files, are the electronic back-ups of the original documents equally incomplete and/or missing?

Thank you.

Lee Cary

Writer for the American Thinker website

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Spokesperson, Department of State

Sent: Tuesday, September 16, 2014 1:29 PM

To: Lee Cary

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

Lee – I’ll see what I have for you, Name deleted

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Lee Cary
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:45 AM
To: State Department spokesperson
Subject: Re: Media Query 9/16/14

Thank you, name deleted. Standing by,

Lee

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: State Department Spokesperson

Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2014 4:36 PM

To: Lee Cary

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

This is to be attributed on background from a State Department official:

(1) Reports that there is $6 billion that can’t be accounted for are grossly inaccurate. The OIG’s March 2014 management alert noted that there were a number of incomplete files for our contracts, and those contracts’ cumulative value is $6 billion. As highlighted in our response to the OIG, this is an issue of which the Department is aware and IS taking steps to remedy. It is a paperwork issue, not an accounting issue.

Thanks, Name deleted.

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Lee Cary
Date: Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:51 PM
TO: State Department Spokesperson

Cc: Official #1 @state.gov; OIC Official #2 @state.gov; OIC Official#3 @state.gov; Lee Cary

Subject: Re: Media Query 9/16/14

Name deleted – Thank you for your response. It will, as before, be “attributed on background… etc.” when quoted.

The $6 billion was mentioned in the OIG’s March 20, 2014 memo as: “contracts with a total value of more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all.”

I do not infer from the OIG’s memo that 6 billion dollars are missing, but, clearly, some degree of accounting for monies is missing, per. the OIG memo.

So…

Q.1. In general terms, what is the content of the missing information that is absent partially, and in some cases totally, from the subject contract files?

I don’t understand your response re. “paperwork issue” and “accounting issue.” On its face, the language (paperwork) designates the means of information storage/conveyance, while “accounting” logically pertains to the general content of the subject content – as in an accumulation of numbers. Numbers on paper would mean both the means of information and its general content.

Q.2. With respect, I repeat and expand my previous query: Are there any missing electronic files, in part or in full? If so, how many “contract files” are totally missing, and what is the approximate, total expenditures involved in those electronic files that are totally missing?

Name deleted, if you are unable to answer my queries, please forwarding me to someone who can/will do so.

Thanks, Lee Cary

Writer for the American Thinker website

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Lee Cary

Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 1:26 PM
To: OIG Official #1 @state.gov
Cc: AT editor
Subject: Fw: Media Query 9/16/14

Name deleted,

The questions below are simple [previous email was attached], direct and, it would seem, merely a matter of fact.

So why am I having so much trouble getting a straight answer from the Department of State spokesperson?

Can you enlighten me, sir.

Lee Cary

Writer for American Thinker website

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From: OIG Official #1

Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 12:34 PM

To: Lee Cary

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

Lee:

If you feel the response doesn’t answer your question, you may want to elevate your inquiry over at the Department to the senior press officer or director.

The main number for Press relations is 202-647-2492 (PAPress2@state.gov).

Name deleted

Signature block deleted

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: Lee Cary
Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 1:54 PM
To: PAPress@state.gov
Cc: OIG Official #1
Subject: Fw: Media Query 9/16/14

Senior Press Officer or Director (see referral below):

I am having no success getting responses to what are two simple and, I believe, clear factual questions that don’t require detailed, confidential information.

Perhaps someone there can help me.

The context for these questions is below:

Q.1. In general terms, what is the content of the missing information that is absent partially, and in some cases totally, from the subject contract files?

Q.2. With respect, I repeat and expand my previous query: Are there any missing electronic files, in part or in full? If so, how many “contract files” are totally missing, and what is the approximate, total expenditures involved in those electronic files that are totally missing?

Thank you.

Lee Cary

Writer for the American Thinker website

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

Note: A query to the PAPress2@state.gov yielded only the following response.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

From: State Department Spokesperson

Sent: Monday, September 22, 2014 1:08 PM

To: Lee Cary

Cc: OIG Official #1

Subject: RE: Media Query 9/16/14

Hi Lee – This is not for attribution and please do not print my name:

I have responded to your requests, and we have nothing further for you from the press office. You are welcome to FOIA the State Department for the information you seek. The FOIA process is laid out here: http://foia.state.gov, as it is an office separate from the press office and OIG.

Hope this is helpful and take care,

Name deleted,

This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………

The failure of a government agency to answer questions is not an admission of guilt, nor necessarily evidence of any malfeasance or violation of any law(s).

But it is curious when the information requested and denied is, on its face, a matter of a simple, physical fact.

So why the unwillingness to identify the missing contract files as having been stored in part, or in total, electronically?

It raises this question: Is this now the fourth instance of significant electronically stored information having conveniently gone missing inside a major government agency? (1) The Department of Justice’s Fast & Furious operation. (2) The IRS scandal. (3) The Department of State’s Benghazi episode. And now this: (4) “contract files” representing $6,000,000,000 of Department of State expenditures are missing in part, or are completely missing.

The clear emphasis in the Office of Inspector General’s memos (linked above) is on the Department of State’s need to improve its accounting procedures. Is there even an effort underway to track and retrieve the missing information concerning $6 billion of expenditures?

Who is in charge of that effort, if it exists?

Are we to believe that there were/are no back-up copies of the missing contract files?

How far has the searched progressed, if there even is a search underway?

What did those expenditures buy?

And just what did happen to the documentation that’s missing? Any clues after six months?

Sandy Berger probably didn’t stuff paper files or hard drives into his socks and walk out of Foggy Bottom with the missing files.

This story does not deserve to die, but it’s headed in that direction.

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Corruption Update: State Department Official Was Ordered To Purge Benghazi Documents Damaging To Hillary

Report: Clinton State Dept Official Says He Was Ordered To Purge Benghazi Documents That Could Be Damaging To Hillary – Weasel Zippers

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What are the odds the MSM reports on Sharyl Attkisson’s bombshell report?

Via Sharyl Attkisson:

…According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story.

At the time, Maxwell was a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe. [...]

Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” He describes it as a large space, outfitted with computers and big screen monitors, intended for emergency planning, and with small offices on the periphery.

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’”

Keep reading…

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Leftist Corruption Update: Obama’s IRS Says It Has Lost Emails From 5 More Employees (Video)

IRS Says It Has Lost Emails From 5 More Employees – Big Government

The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status.

The tax agency said in June that it could not locate an untold number of emails to and from Lois Lerner, who headed the IRS division that processes applications for tax-exempt status. The revelation set off a new round of investigations and congressional hearings.

On Friday, the IRS said it has also lost emails from five other employees related to the probe, including two agents who worked in a Cincinnati office processing applications for tax-exempt status.

The agency blamed computer crashes for the lost emails. In a statement, the IRS said it found no evidence that anyone deliberately destroyed evidence.

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IRS Corruption Update: Email Reveals Lois Lerner Ignored Political Expenditures By Unions

Email Reveals Lois Lerner Ignored Political Expenditures By Unions – Daily Caller

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The official at the center of the Internal Revenue Service tea party scandal once dismissed complaints that labor unions were not reporting millions of dollars in political activities on their tax forms, according to an email obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

In 2007, Lerner responded directly to a complaint that some major labor unions reported completely different amounts of political expenditures when filing with the IRS and the Department of Labor.

At the time of the email, Lerner was the Director of Exempt Organizations at the IRS.

Lerner wrote, “We looked at the information you provided regarding organizations that report substantial amounts of political activity and lobbying expenditures on the DOL Form LM-2, but report little to no political expenditures on the Form 990 filed with the IRS.”

“We believe this difference in reporting does not necessarily indicate that the organization has incorrectly reported to either the DOL or the IRS,” Lerner concluded.

Don Todd, the deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS) at the time the email was sent, confirmed seeing Lerner’s email and remembering similar complaints at the time. OLMS oversees labor union financial disclosures within the Department of Labor.

“The laws never been enforced,” Todd told TheDCNF. “The IRS was telling us it would cost more to enforce the law then they would collect.”

In 2006, the year leading up to Lerner’s email, the national headquarters for the AFL-CIO reported no direct or indirect political expenditures with the IRS on their 990 form, leaving the line 81a blank. That same year, the AFL-CIO reported $29,585,661 in political activities with the Department of Labor.

Also in 2006 the Teamsters Union reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $7,081,965 with the Labor Department.

Again in 2006, Unite-Here reported no political activity with the IRS and $1,451,002 with the Labor Department.

In 2005, the National Education Association also reported no political expenditures with the IRS while at the same time reporting $24,985,250 with the Labor Department.

Labor union political spending overwhelmingly benefits Democrats. Todd told TheDNCF Lerner may have been playing favorites. Lerner has been accused of singling out tea party groups applying for tax-exempt status.

Lerner acknowledged in the 2007 email, “The definition of political campaign activity required to be reported on Form LM2 coincides with the definition of political campaign activity expenditures required to be reported on Form 990.”

But she did offer some possible reasons for the discrepancies. “The Form LM-2 does not separate this reporting from the reporting of lobbying expenditures,” she wrote. “Furthermore, even if section 501(c)(5) labor organizations were required to report their lobbying expenditures, the amount required to be reported on Form LM-2 includes activity, such as attempting to influence regulations, that is not required to be reported as lobbying, as the IRS limitations apply to legislative lobbying.”

Lerner conceded, “Having said that, we did see some instances that raised concerns and we referred that information to our Dallas office to determine whether examination is warranted.” It does not appear any further investigation was conducted.

The Bush administration mandated more detailed disclosure requirements for labor unions, but they were relaxed by the Obama administration’s Labor Department.

An IRS spokesman told TheDCNF the agency had no “immediate comment” on the matter.

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Corruption Update: Wisconsin John Doe Investigation Was Full-Blown Anti-Conservative Fishing Expedition

Revealed: Wisconsin John Doe Investigation Was Full-Blown Anti-Conservative Fishing Expedition – Legal Insurrection

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We’ve covered the abusive anti-conservative Wisconsin “John Doe” proceedings many times before.

The short story is that two separate proceedings were commenced under the auspices of Democratic District Attorneys in order to try to take down Scott Walker.

John Doe No. 1 concerned Walker’s time as County Executive and ended without finding any wrongdoing by Walker himself.

John Doe No. 2 concerned Walker’s time as Governor and recall election. Both a state court judge and a federal judge found that even if everything the investigators claimed was true, it was not illegal. This John Doe No. 2 resulted in a federal lawsuit by two of the targets alleging that the investigators violated the targets’ constitutional rights.

Some documents released Friday by the federal Court of Appeals reveal just how abusive this John Doe No. 2 was.

The investigators conducted a widespread fishing expedition through the otherwise private records of numerous conservative activists, as described by M.D. Kittle of Wisconsin Reporter, who has followed the case more closely than anyone (h/t Instapundit):

‘Retaliation’: Docs show state prosecutors’ launched mini-NSA probe of state conservatives

Conservative targets of a Democrat-launched John Doe investigation have described the secret probe as a witch hunt.

That might not be a big enough descriptor, based on records released Friday by a federal appeals court as part of a massive document dump.

Attorneys for conservative activist Eric O’Keefe and the Wisconsin Club for Growth point to subpoenas requested by John Doe prosecutors that sought records from “at least eight phone companies” believed to serve the targets of the investigation. O’Keefe and the club have filed a civil rights lawsuit against John Doe prosecutors, alleging they violated conservatives’ First Amendment rights.

Subpoenas also demanded the conservatives’ bank records, “emails from every major private email provider” and other information in what some have described as a mini-NSA (National Security Agency) operation in Wisconsin.

“In fact, Defendants’ submissions confirm and expand upon the scope and intensity of retaliation previously demonstrated,” O’Keefe’s attorney wrote in documents ordered unsealed by the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

The documents raise serious concerns about the tactics of Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm, two of his assistant DAs and others involved in the investigation targeting dozens of conservatives.

We are in a dangerous place when prosecutors can identify the target first, and then try to find a crime.

Hey Wisconsin conservatives. You’re not paranoid, Democrats really are out to get you.

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Corruption Update: Medicare/Medicaid Administrator Instructed Subordinate To Delete Obamacare-Related Email

Top Obamacare Official: ‘Please Delete This Email’ – The Blaze

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Congressional investigators are demanding answers from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner after she reportedly instructed a subordinate to “delete” an Obamacare-related email conversation involving key White House officials.

In a August 15 letter to Tavenner, leaders of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce bring to light an October 5, 2013, email discussion involving White House representatives. The email was then forwarded to the CMS communications director with the following message: “Please delete this email-but please see if we can work on call script.”

According to veteran journalist Sharyl Attiksson, this revelation is “significant” for a number of reasons:

First, the email to be deleted included an exchange between key White House officials and CMS officials. Second, the email was dated October 5, 2013, five days into the disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov. Third, federal law requires federal officials to retain copies of –not delete– email exchanges. And fourth, the document to be deleted is covered under Congressional subpoena as well as longstanding Freedom of Information requests made by members of the media (including me).

Members of Congress are now requesting answers from Tavenner, including why she instructed a subordinate, CMS Director of Communications Julie Bataille, to delete the email exchange rather than telling her to retain it as she claimed was the official policy.

As Attkisson notes, those copied on the email exchange included Jeanne Lambrew, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, White House health care advisor Christopher Jennings, as well as other HHS and CMS officials.

In the 2013 email exchange, Tavenner reportedly explained how CMS staff were dealing with the high volume of Obamacare applications as Healthcare.gov failed. She noted officials were accepting PDF files that “look and act like a paper application” while also trying to accept some information online. Eventually, another official asked for more details on the process.

The Department of Health and Human Services recently informed Congress that they would not be able to produce some of Tavenner’s emails requested under a subpoena as they were deleted. Lawmakers, who are investigating the “processes and procedures” that led to the disastrous rollout of Healthcare.gov, were told “most but not all” of the emails would likely be provided.

Tavenner blamed the email loss on the “extremely high volume of emails” that she receives on a daily basis.

The Friday letter from lawmakers asks Tavenner if any other emails were purposefully deleted and how CMS intends on attempting to recover them. Lawmakers also requested an explanation regarding several redactions made in some documents already provided to Congress.

“[N]ow we know that when HealthCare.gov was crashing, those in charge were hitting the delete button behind the scenes,” Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, said in a statement.

Despite the “delete” request, CMS spokesman Aaron Albright told FoxNews.com that the email exchange was saved anyway.

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TV Station Gets Million-Dollar FCC Rule Exception After Donating To Democrat Henry Waxman

Corruption At The FCC? TV Execs Donate To Dem Lawmaker, Get Million-Dollar Rule Exception – Daily Caller

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A single television station has been granted a significant exception to the Federal Communications Commission’s upcoming broadcast spectrum overhaul – a station whose operators made joint campaign contributions to a key lawmaker with oversight authority over the FCC.

House Energy & Commerce Committee Ranking Democrat Henry Waxman – who oversees the FCC – received more than $12,000 in campaign contributions from three television executives in danger of losing broadcast rights after their company missed a crucial agency deadline. The company was subsequently granted the sole exception to the FCC’s rule.

“The timing of the campaign donations is very suspicious,” a source at the FCC familiar with the spectrum deliberations told The Daily Caller. “It appears that you can buy special favors from the FCC worth millions of dollars by giving money to Democrats. Would the result have been the same if the company’s executives were Republican donors? I doubt it.”

In May the FCC finalized plans to hold a spectrum incentive auction, the goal of which is to free up and transition broadcast television ultra-high frequency spectrum space over to the growing mobile broadband services market.

Starting sometime in mid-2015, TV broadcasters will have the opportunity to sell spectrum back to the commission, which will then re-sell it to wireless carriers. Broadcasters choosing not to sell will be repacked (or moved to different spectrum) in order to stay in business.

The central question facing broadcasters is who will be eligible for auction participation, and who will be eligible for repacking in the event they fail to sell their spectrum.

That decision will be left up to the commission based on three FCC broadcast power and classification distinctions – “Class A” and “Full-Power Stations,” which will be eligible for auction participation or repacking, and “Low-Power Stations,” which will be ineligible for auction participation.

Full-Power Stations cover large broadcast ranges and must meet certain public interest requirements. Low-Power Stations cover smaller, more-localized areas and are exempt from those requirements. Class A Stations are former Low-Power Stations that received full-power status by filing an application with the commission, and meeting the public interest protocols.

Class A and Full-Power Stations will either receive millions of dollars by selling their spectrum to the FCC or stay in the television business via new, repacked spectrum, whereas Low-Power Stations are not guaranteed spectrum after the auction – meaning if there’s no room left, they’ll be forced off the air.

That makes the distinction between Class A and Low-Power Stations worth, literally, millions of dollars more for the former.

The commission released its adopted incentive auction rules in June, which established a simple rule: All Low-Power Stations that failed to file applications to become Class A Stations by February 22, 2012 (the date the law authorizing the incentive auction was enacted) would be ineligible to participate in the auction, or be protected through repacking.

All except one – a local station based in Los Angeles, which received a special exception to the rule.

“We will, however, exercise our discretion to protect one station in this category – KHTV-CD, Los Angeles, California, licensed to Venture,” the rules state. “Venture made repeated efforts over the course of a decade to convert to Class A status.”

According to FCC filings, Venture was denied Class A designation several times over predicted spectrum “interference” or “international objection,” and failed to file a Class A license application along with a construction permit for a new facility in 2009. Venture then had to wait to get a Low-Power license before applying for Class A again. The Low-Power license was granted on February 22, 2012, after which Venture applied for and received its Class A license on July 11, 2012 – well after the incentive auction deadline.

Federal Election Commission filings show that on September 30, 2012 Venture Technologies Group co-founder and Chairman Lawrence Rogow, co-founder and General Counsel Garry Spire and CEO Paul Koplin each gave $2,500 (or a combined $7,500) to Waxman’s re-election campaign

The House Energy & Commerce Committee oversees the FCC, and the commission’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau Chief Roger Sherman – one of the most important advisors to Chairman Tom Wheeler on the incentive auction, according to an FCC source – was formerly Minority Chief Counsel in Waxman’s office, including during Waxman’s tenure as Energy & Commerce chair.

Spire gave Waxman another $2,500 six days before, and a little over a year later on November 8, 2013, Rogow and Koplin gave Waxman another $2,600 each, making for a total of $12,700 personally from top Venture execs to Waxman months before the FCC’s adopted incentive auction rules, which gave their company the only exception.

The exception granted to Venture will either allow the company to make millions of dollars by participating in the incentive auction (as spectrum in Los Angeles is especially valuable), or allow its station to stay in business after the incentive auction, when it likely would have been forced off the air otherwise.

The Daily Caller reached out to Waxman Communications Director Karen Lightfoot twice via email and telephone on June 20 seeking comment on the timing of the donations, the exception, and the status of any possible relationship with Venture. She did not respond.

TheDC then attempted to contact Waxman Assistant Press Secretary Elizabeth Letter via email and telephone on July 2, and again received no response.

Congressman Waxman’s office did not return multiple telephone requests for comment.

Last week, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee launched an investigation into a different FCC rule exception for a company owned by a major Obama donor.

“The Energy and Commerce Committee is committed to conducting vigorous oversight to ensure that Commission processes are fair, open, and transparent, and that they serve the public interest,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Oregon Rep. Greg Walden and Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy wrote in a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

In an earlier July statement, Upton and Walden said the agency’s “process is clearly broken, and something smells rotten on the eighth floor” – a reference to the offices of the chairman and commissioners at FCC headquarters in Washington.

Republicans opened the probe to find out whether Grain Management LLC, headed by Democratic campaign donor David Grain, was given ethically questionable favor in the form of a wavier to airwave auction rules that grant Grain benefits originally intended exclusively for smaller businesses.

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