CRE Regulatory Action of the Week
FCC Decision on Broadcast Rules Suggests Need for Oversight
Click to read the FCC News Release
Click to read Statement by Commissioner Adelstein
Click to read CRE's Blueprint for OMB Review of
The FCC has issued new rules governing media ownership by broadcast companies. These new rules have the effect of significantly relaxing media ownership restrictions. The FCC News Release announcing the decision stated that the new rules were "based on empirical evidence" and were the result of an "unprecedented public record" of more than 520,000 comments. Commissioner Adelstein's dissenting statement noted that "99.9 percent"of people who made their views known to the Commission were opposed to the new rules. The Commissioner's statement also discussed his view that the new rules were "based on oftentimes arbitrary numbers." Given the economic significance of the new broadcast ownership rules and the disputes over the quality of the data and analysis underlying the Commission's decision, the rulemaking is a key illustration why OMB should, under its existing authority, review major rulemakings by the FCC and other independent agencies. OMB has particular expertise in regulatory analysis and is responsible for ensuring that agencies adhere to the "good government" laws, such as the Data Quality Act and Paperwork Reduction Act, which govern the regulatory process. Although there is great controversy over whether the public interest will be well served by the new broadcast ownership rules, there should be little dispute that the public would have been better served by OMB oversight of the rulemaking.
Independent Agency Regulations
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