FCC Considers Expanding Debarment Rules
In a November 22, 2019 press release, the Federal Communications Commission announced a rulemaking process aimed at providing the FCC with “broader and more flexible authority to promptly remove bad actors from participation in the Universal Service Fund.” Per the FCC:
The proposal would align FCC rules with the Office of Management and Budget’s Guidelines to Agencies on Government Debarment and Suspension. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking seeks to provide the FCC with greater flexibility in preventing fraud, including the ability to consider a broader range of misconduct and to immediately suspend entities when necessary to protect the public interest… The proposed rules would also allow the FCC to participate in a government-wide mechanism through which suspension or debarment by the FCC would apply to other federal agencies and vice versa.”
Current FCC rules require suspension or debarment of USF participants only when there has been a civil judgement or conviction of fraud or other serious misconduct. The proposed rules would not only expand the situations under which suspensions or debarments could be issued, but also the numbers and types of parties who could be suspended or debarred.
The draft NRPM may be found here.