O'Rielly Cites Citations as Troubling Trend

Citing instances involving Lyft and First National Bank, Republican FCC commissioner Michael O'Rielly blogged Tuesday about his concern with the FCC's enforcement actions via citations to companies not generally regulated by the FCC.

The citations to Lyft and First National Bank were for telemarketing violations, but O'Rielly said he was concerned they "are being used as another tool to expand the FCC’s reach and thus its mission – a maneuver that amounts to regulation by citation."

He pointed out that the FCC can't fine a company not generally under its purview until after it has issued a citation.

O'Rielly said that some companies have been blindsided by the citations and sometimes don't get them until after the FCC has already issued a press release.

"By the time a company learns of the item, and has a chance to read and understand the supposed violations, it may have already been tried in the court of public opinion based solely on the FCC’s view of the facts, which may or may not be correct," he said.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.