Any communication directed to the merits or outcome of an FCC proceeding is considered an “ex parte” presentation. Citizens may appear in person before FCC officials to make an ex parte presentation. Ex parte presentations may also be made in writing. The FCC has specific disclosure requirements associated with different forms of ex parte presentations:
- Oral ex parte presentations: If individuals want to make oral ex parte presentations and present data or arguments in that proceeding that are not already reflected in their written comments, they must provide an original and one copy of a written memorandum to the Secretary (with a copy to the Commissioner or staff member involved) that summarizes the data and arguments they intend to present. Their memoranda must clearly indicate on its face the docket number of the particular proceeding(s) to which it relates, the fact that an original and one copy have been submitted to the Secretary, and it must be labeled or captioned as an ex parte presentation. Individuals can file their memoranda on the date of their oral presentations.
- Written ex parte presentations: Individuals must provide two copies of the written presentation to the Commission’s Secretary to be included in the public record. This must occur on the same day the presentation is submitted. They need to be sure to include the docket number on the face of the presentation to which it relates, and that two copies of it have been submitted to the Secretary, and label it as an ex parte presentation.
It is a good idea to contact the FCC staff member associated with the proceeding before planning an ex parte presentation. Because some proceedings are restricted, staff can let people know if they can make a presentation and can explain the rules for doing so.