The Jan. 7 editorial criticizing John McCain's letters to the Federal Communications Commission urging the FCC to vote on a television station deal was way off base.

As chairman of the FCC from 1993 to 1997, I had many conversations and received many letters from John McCain and other members of Congress. In fact, I and other representatives of the FCC received about 5,000 letters and at least 50,000 telephone calls from members and their staff per year. I am sure my successors have experienced a similar volume of input.

Nothing was objectionable in the means by which John McCain communicated to me nor in the letters that you mysteriously find offensive. What is wrong is for an elected official to adopt a point of view about a matter because of financial contributions. If you think John McCain's opinions and actions can be bought, your opinion flies in the face of all my experience of the man. He and I disagreed on very many policies and programs, but I never thought for a second that he acted on the basis of anything other than his own independent views.

What could be fatal to our democracy is the possible purchase of the general election by the monied alliance that supports Gov. George W. Bush on a scale of expenditure never seen before in American politics. This is an open evil of the campaign finance system--and a fit target for The Post.


Chevy Chase

The writer was chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1993 to 1997.