Today, we are delivering to our friends and colleagues with whom we work in the communications space a token of Holiday cheer in the form of cupcakes.  While we have been delivering Holiday treats around town for years, last year, however, a partial delivery list led to Cupcakegate.  This friendly gesture was described as some form of a devious plot to “buy” off the Commission on issues of importance to AT&T.  I guess the argument is that a cupcake is all it takes to buy off the integrity of an entire agency.  Wait until K Street and advertising execs hear that!   

I would be lying if I didn’t admit that there was some pressure to stop the tradition this year because of last year’s silly criticisms (don’t worry, you all will be getting cupcakes again this time around too).  But the simple fact is that Holiday treats (cookies for years and now cupcakes) is just a way to say thank you and Happy Holidays to a lot of folks with whom we work at the Commission and in the industry 52 weeks a year.  

Our team is at the agency almost every day on regulatory matters.   In addition to work we do in open proceedings, we file tariffs, respond to complaints, answer inquiries, participate on panels and at workshops, and coordinate calendars with administrative assistants.  We also participate in appeals – sometimes in support of the agency, sometimes in opposition.  And we go through security downstairs and are greeted by security guards on the eighth floor.  In short, we regularly work with and rely on scores of FCC employees who make the agency run.  And outside the agency, we are on panels in Washington and across the country with friends and opponents alike and regularly speak with our friends in the press.  A cupcake is simply a small way of saying thank you for the patience, courtesy and professionalism that is shown our team throughout the year.  So, despite the fact that some may still object or complain, we are going to continue our tradition. 

We also recognize that these hard economic times make the Holidays particularly challenging for those in need.  We are therefore making a $5000 donation to two special charities (Martha’s Table and So Others Might Eat) that support others who are less fortunate than ourselves.  

To our friends and opponents alike, we offer best wishes for a great Holiday Season and a happy and joyous New Year.

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