A Tough Act to Follow?: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 by Harold Furchtgott-Roth

By Harold Furchtgott-Roth

The writer, who served as one of many 5 commissioners of the Federal Communications fee for a number of years, explains why this and different govt corporations that aren't arrange with separation of powers in brain turn out undermining the guideline of legislation.

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Extra info for A Tough Act to Follow?: The Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Separation of Powers Failure

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Other sectors, such as health care and pharmaceuticals, doubtlessly had conflicts of interest for analysts, yet they did not experience the same collapse. Blame for the collapse has also been directed toward the corporate CEOs, internal financial officers, and external auditors who were guilty of faulty accounting and bookkeeping. Officers of WorldCom, for example, were convicted of such wrongdoings. Some of these practices might have been used at first to create the appearance of financial growth that fueled the stock market, and others later might have been used to cover up poor investments in the aftermath of the market collapse.

Prior to 1996, the Supreme Court had effectively endorsed expansion of the FCC’s power, but it never sanctioned the commission for failure to perform its duties under the 1934 statute. 3 The court-approved preeminent power of the FCC to exercise wide latitude in its decisions was enshrined long before the Telecommunications Act of 1996. 4 In a 1940 ruling, Justice Felix Frankfurter may have summarized the view of the Supreme Court in expressing its desire to wash its hands of reviewing the many and varied decisions made by the FCC under delegated authority: Courts are not charged with general guardianship against all potential mischief in the complicated tasks of government.

Ironically, the FTC and DOJ go to great lengths to avoid reviewing the same case, both to conserve resources and to prevent a form of double jeopardy under federal antitrust law. Yet the FCC has long engaged in this duplicative process—wasting resources and subjecting private parties to a form of double jeopardy—partly in order to encourage private industry to fulfill the agency’s own policy agenda. Duplication of antitrust acquisition review was rarely a problem before the 1980s, because most large firms regulated by the FCC were unlikely to merge with one another.

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