FCC Chairman Insists All Commissioners Vote on Rule Enforcement
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Feb 8, 2017, 3:24 PM by Eric M. Zeman
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai today put another change into place that will impact how the agency enforces regulations. The FCC uses what it calls consent decrees to settle investigations against companies and/or bad actors. The offending party typically agrees to change its behavior and may or may not also pay a fine. Until now, consent decrees were signed only by the Chief of the Enforcement Bureau. The full Commission was not involved in the process. Moving forward, Chairman Pai wants the Commissioners to vote on rule enforcement. "I have instructed the Enforcement Bureau that starting today, any consent decree settling a Notice of Apparent Liability or Forfeiture Order issued by the full Commission must now be approved by a vote of the full Commission. This will help promote Commissioners’ involvement in and accountability for important enforcement decisions," said Pai in a statement. The change is being put into effect immediately. Under former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, the Enforcement Bureau targeted and fined wireless companies and other industry players fairly often. This new policy gives Pai's Republican-dominated Commission a chance to intercede if it disagrees with the Enforcement Bureau's punishments.
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