Why does the Wall Street regulation overhaul give FTC authority over the Internet?

posted at 11:35 am on May 1, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported on another little Easter egg in a bill cruising through Congress that would normally have followed Nancy Pelosi’s policy of discovery ex post facto. Democrats have pushed hard to get the financial-regulation reform bill unstuck in the Senate, mainly playing on class-warfare themes in painting the GOP as the party of eeeeeeevil Wall Street robber barons. However, the House version of the bill contains provisions that would put the Federal Trade Commission in position to start issuing rules on Internet transactions that would not only slow down business growth but also have no relevance at all to the financial collapse that prompted the bill:

The Federal Trade Commission could become a more powerful watchdog for Internet users under a little-known provision in financial overhaul legislation that would expand the agency’s ability to create rules.

An emboldened FTC would stand in stark contrast to a besieged Federal Communications Commission, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines.

The version of regulatory overhaul legislation passed by the House would allow the FTC to issue rules on a fast track and permit the agency to impose civil penalties on companies that hurt consumers. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has argued in favor of bolstering his agency’s enforcement ability. …

Major media, telecom and cable companies stand to win or lose greatly from changes at the FTC and FCC. For example, a proposed rule at the FCC would force carriers to treat all Web traffic equally on their networks. That has drawn sharp opposition from broadband service providers, who would prefer that Congress mandate such a change. Comcast has complained that some traffic is so heavy that it slows the entire system.

The proposal to expand the FTC’s authority has sparked a flurry of lobbying by advertisers, industry groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which are seeking to block it citing concerns about possible overreach by the agency.

This has become a pattern with this Congress and administration. Despite having large majorities in both chambers, Democrats refuse to use the legislative path to pass regulation — mainly because the regulations they want are too radical to pass. Instead, they shift the creation of regulation to agencies like the EPA and its “endangerment” finding for CO2, which would then require Congress and the President to undo rather than vote to impose in the first place.

Even considering that pattern, this is something out of the ordinary. Neither the FTC nor the Internet had anything to do with the Wall Street meltdown in 2008.  If this financial-regulation bill is so desperately needed, why did House Democrats lard it up with this power grab at the FTC?  Why does the FTC need any further authority over the Internet, where fraud and abuse regulations apply already?   The Internet economy has been one of the bright spots throughout a dismal period of recent history.  Do we need to attack the one area that shows growth and promise?

Nancy Pelosi knows that her Democratic majorities won’t last much longer.  She wants to leave behind a Byzantine structure of unaccountable bureaucrats and embedded power to accomplish what she can’t get through the legitimate processes of lawmaking, and she’s hiding those efforts in so-called emergency legislation.  Keep an eye on this during the conference committee on the financial-regulation bill; it’s not in the Senate version, but will almost certainly reappear in the conference report.


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You’d think we’d be thanking them….

But, at a certain point, you’d think that they’ve made enough money…er….government, I meant.

ted c on May 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Democrats refuse to use the legislative path to pass regulation — mainly because the regulations they want are too radical to pass.

When will it stop? These people are the most power hungry, egocentric, control freaks EVER.

Thanks for the info Ed, but I have to stop reading these posts. It’s ruining my day.

conservative pilgrim on May 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

I thought the proper place of control of the internet was the FTC… as apposed to the FEC?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

What is the endgame? Or have they thought that far ahead?

Inanemergencydial on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

The national nightmare continues unabatted.

heshtesh on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

FEC

Eh, FCC…

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

When will it stop? These people are the most power hungry, egocentric, control freaks EVER.

Thanks for the info Ed, but I have to stop reading these posts. It’s ruining my day.

conservative pilgrim on May 1, 2010 at 11:45 AM

It’s just onslaught after onslaught against our liberties. It’s exhausting just keeping track of it all, let alone fighting it.

Disturb the Universe on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

What is the endgame? Or have they thought that far ahead?

Inanemergencydial on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Total control of every aspect of your life.

Disturb the Universe on May 1, 2010 at 11:49 AM

The Internet economy has been one of the bright spots throughout a dismal period of recent history.  Do we need to attack the one area that shows growth and promise?

Perhaps if all you are interested in is the Nationalization and Socialization of the economy, Yes.

Either that, or they want to knock down ever aspect of the economy, Cloward – Piven style.

Take your pick.

Chip on May 1, 2010 at 11:51 AM

You guys need to be careful going against this… the FTC is a better place for oversight than the FCC… and some broadband companies don’t exactly tell the whole truth about what they’re selling to their customers…

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

It’s just onslaught after onslaught against our liberties. It’s exhausting just keeping track of it all, let alone fighting it.

Disturb the Universe on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

I forgot serial liars and demagogic.

conservative pilgrim on May 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

You guys need to be careful going against this…

Although, whatever changes should be debated separately from this financial overhaul bill…

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Under attack from within.

Key West Reader on May 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Why? Because they don’t yet have a Ministry of Information nor a czar to run it?

But of course the Federal Trade Commission should regulate the internet. There is buying and selling going on that has to be regulated. Of course the FTC has to regulate construction of the internet because companies can not afford to build enough capacity to meet the demand of consumers who don’t want to pay the price for that capacity. Of course the government has to step it. It just wouldn’t be fair otherwise.

Skandia Recluse on May 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

The Internet economy has been one of the bright spots throughout a dismal period of recent history. Do we need to attack the one area that shows growth and promise?

Do you really need to ask?

Daggett on May 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

What is the endgame? Or have they thought that far ahead?
Inanemergencydial on May 1, 2010 at 11:48 AM

Total control of every aspect of your life.
Disturb the Universe on May 1, 2010 at 11:49 AM

It sort of looks that way, doesn’t it?

Have you moderate Democrats had enough “Change” from the Far-left National Socialist moonbats in your party yet?

Chip on May 1, 2010 at 11:55 AM

http://twitter.com/markknoller/status/13195200149

Citing “one of the cable channels,” he said “you can see why even a kindergartener would ask” if people were being nice to him or not.

Oh no he didn’t… IIRC, the “kindergartener” was the child of a politcal hack…

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM

You guys need to be careful going against this… the FTC is a better place for oversight than the FCC… and some broadband companies don’t exactly tell the whole truth about what they’re selling to their customers…

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

If your comfortable with complete oversight in your life maybe you would be more comfortable in China. As for me i enjoy freedom in every regard possible.

heshtesh on May 1, 2010 at 11:59 AM

If your comfortable with complete oversight in your life maybe you would be more comfortable in China. As for me i enjoy freedom in every regard possible.

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

The version of regulatory overhaul legislation passed by the House would allow the FTC to issue rules on a fast track and permit the agency to impose civil penalties on companies that hurt consumers. FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz has argued in favor of bolstering his agency’s enforcement ability. …

Wake me up when Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac and other government and semi-government agencies get civil (or any) penalties imposed on them. Moreover, what hurts consumers more than, say, Cap N Trade legislation?

Buy Danish on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

“fundamental transformation”…

d1carter on May 1, 2010 at 12:03 PM

The Federal Trade Commission could become a more powerful watchdog for Internet users under a little-known provision in financial overhaul legislation that would expand the agency’s ability to create rules.

An emboldened FTC would stand in stark contrast to a besieged Federal Communications Commission, whose ability to oversee broadband providers has been cast into doubt after a federal court ruled last month that the agency lacked the ability to punish Comcast for violating open-Internet guidelines.

Did ya get this folks? Wapo, (and writer Cicilia King) thinks the FCC has become “besieged” because they got their wings clipped recently on 1st amendment rights. If not for folks like Ed here, this crappola would go un-checked and suddenly pop up as law. Instead of waiting for this to come out of committee, write your reps and “suggest” they look at throwing this provision out NOW! And thanks Ed, for the “notice”.

Rovin on May 1, 2010 at 12:05 PM

Up next: The Equalization of Opportunity Bill…

yubley on May 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

When the company lies to me I can switch to DSL or satellite or cable or dial up or go to a wifi hot spot.

When the government lies to me I can whimper. My whimper mechanism is in bad need of a tune up already.

GnuBreed on May 1, 2010 at 12:11 PM

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Why do you think it is not a free market?

katy the mean old lady on May 1, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Do you think the federal gov. has been honest about what they’ve been selling us?

heshtesh on May 1, 2010 at 12:14 PM

The Internet economy has been one of the bright spots throughout a dismal period of recent history. Do we need to attack the one area that shows growth and promise?

How else can they stop people when they’ve made “enough” money?

Wethal on May 1, 2010 at 12:14 PM

That pic of Pelosi is infuriating. Just rub it in our faces guys…..thnx ;)

hisfrogness on May 1, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Isn’t intrusive and corrupt big government great? Power and control make my little heart go pitter patter!

Your friend,

-crr6

darwin on May 1, 2010 at 12:25 PM

And the Republicans dropped the filibuster and let this bill get to the floor.

headbanging smiley… really… want it…

Skywise on May 1, 2010 at 12:27 PM

I am not a violent person, but I’d sure like to knock Ol’Nancy upside the head with her own gavel. My God I loathe that woman!!!

Where’s happyfeet? wasn’t he/she really worried about the Arizona immigration law intruding on civil rights? What the hell does he/she think Nancy is doing with this?

capejasmine on May 1, 2010 at 12:34 PM

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

No. Amazingly, that’s already against the law — fraud, remember?

So what’s this new set of regulations intended to accomplish? Do you know? Or are you just assuming it’ll be a Good Thing?

Crawford on May 1, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Where’s happyfeet?

Probably drunk in a gutter somewhere.

Crawford on May 1, 2010 at 12:37 PM

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Tell us what they’re lying about and we can charge them with fraud. There’s been laws against that for some time now here and throughout the world.

Or would you rather have politically motivated government hacks just take control from Washington? Do they have some unique virtue and wisdom that eludes us mere mortals?

RadClown on May 1, 2010 at 12:43 PM

This type of undercover bill writing has come to define Nancy Pelosi’s ‘most ethical congress ever’.

Absolutely NO bill should be passed by the Senate until AFTER the next congress is sworn in.

We the people, will simply not be told what is in any bill until 2011. And we will be lucky to find out then.

Freddy on May 1, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

You seem to perfectly accept the Democrats lying about what’s in the laws they’re passing. If they do that to us in a VERY public process with the basics, what are they doing with the government when they have control over businesses like this?

Skywise on May 1, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Government censorship of the Internet will not be denied … What else is in this changeling?

These gigantic bills are stuffed full of crap all of which is bad for freedom and liberty. The Democrat party is turning into the party of tyranny.

It really is beginning to look like evil is afoot in our federal government.

tarpon on May 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM

May she and her city be over run with illegals and drug dealers. So there!

jeanie on May 1, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Hasn’t passed the Senate yet, get back on the phones and e-mail your senators.

Chewy the Lab on May 1, 2010 at 1:19 PM

It’s gun control, pure and simple. We’re gonna be buried under so much regulation that we’ll need our rifle barrels for snorkels. In order to shoot something, you’ll need to be able to hold your breath long enough to assemble, shoot, and disassemble your gun before you suffocate.

Don’t laugh! IT AIN’T FUNNY!

Woody

woodcdi on May 1, 2010 at 1:21 PM

Apparently the Democrats see no problem with controlling the Internet.

Its as if they admire the way Iran and China control the flow of information and want to replicate it here.

Why else would they want to allow the FTC to control the Internet?

Conservative Samizdat on May 1, 2010 at 1:22 PM

In another power grab, Waxman (D-CA) has proposed an amendment in the Wall Street Reform and Conumer Protection Act to expand the powers of the FTC (not the FDA) to target nutritional supplement producers.

onlineanalyst on May 1, 2010 at 1:22 PM

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

I agree that the FTC is the proper agency for oversight on truth in advertising, but I wouldn’t give them control of the internet. Advertising is advertising, whether in print or online. Deal with the content, not the media.

Dee2008 on May 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM

These gigantic bills are stuffed full of crap all of which is bad for freedom and liberty. The Democrat party is turning into the party of tyranny enemy of the people.

tarpon on May 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM

The democrats want to play master and servant. Are we going to let them?

Inanemergencydial on May 1, 2010 at 1:30 PM

Progressive totalitarianism on the march.

petefrt on May 1, 2010 at 1:33 PM

The promised “change”, as it turns out, it a total shadow government, where legislation is bypassed (meaning WE are bypassed) in favor of a commission controlled and regulated form of government. This, my good friends, is dangerous as HELL, and it will take a Conservative Republican President to undo the damage. In the meantime, we have little or no choice but to live with it. After all, “I WON!”.

GoldenEagle4444 on May 1, 2010 at 1:43 PM

The proposal to expand the FTC’s authority has sparked a flurry of lobbying by advertisers, industry groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which are seeking to block it citing concerns about possible likely overreach by the agency.

fixed

agmartin on May 1, 2010 at 1:50 PM

Oops

The proposal to expand the FTC’s authority has sparked a flurry of lobbying by advertisers, industry groups and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which are seeking to block it citing concerns about possible likely guaranteed overreach by the agency.
now it’s fixed

agmartin on May 1, 2010 at 1:52 PM

More pass it then find out what’s in it from Nanzi.

Kissmygrits on May 1, 2010 at 1:52 PM

It really is beginning to look like evil is afoot in our federal government.

tarpon on May 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM

Beginning?

ontherocks on May 1, 2010 at 2:21 PM

Where’s a ranking GOP exposing this threat to our liberty?

It’s one thing to control the MSM, but the internet is the source and funnel of information necessary to dissent.

It’s curious how the repubs have such timid voices in the face of this treachery.

ontherocks on May 1, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Where’s a ranking GOP exposing this threat to our liberty?

It’s one thing to control the MSM, but the internet is the source and funnel of information necessary to dissent.

It’s curious how the repubs have such timid voices in the face of this treachery.

ontherocks on May 1, 2010 at 2:28 PM


Subscribe to McCotter’s Youtube channel.
He is relentless in the good fight.

Inanemergencydial on May 1, 2010 at 2:33 PM

And the Obama oil spill keeps gushing. Did you know that in 1990 after the Exxon Valdez spill Congress passed the OPA – Oil Spill Protection Act making the president head of oil spill central.

And the OPA was supposed to prevent things like what is now happening from ever happening again. And did you know oil spill booms were to be stored by the Military for use under presidential orders, which were issued today I believe. Aren’t you glad Obama spent a few days last week campaigning instead of doing his job? Besides the OPA plan was to stop spills early on, so they wouldn’t do much damage, right Obama-regime and your troupe of clowns?

Best I can tell our uncle who wants to do everything isn’t very good at doing anything. He does look a little doggy, overweight and his resources over taxes.

But hey, what could go wrong with government running health care. We need less people on earth anyway.

tarpon on May 1, 2010 at 2:36 PM

If the printing press were invented today, Democrats would come up with a rationale for government to run the ink business.

RadClown on May 1, 2010 at 2:47 PM

The Too Big To Fail Bailout Bill is full of all kinds of goodies. It also includes Waxman’s Anti-Supplement Bill Amendment, previously conceived and then abandoned by the Make-Believe Maverick.

Rae on May 1, 2010 at 3:22 PM

Do you want the broadband companies(which aren’t exactly operating in a free market) to lie about what they’re selling?

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Oh yes, I need the federal government to protect me from the evil broadband companies just like I need them to protect me from Spirit Airlines charging me $45 for my carry-on. I’m just too stupid to look for alternatives to these evil companies. I need the overwhelming brilliance of Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi to look out for me.

PatMac on May 1, 2010 at 3:44 PM

“Even considering that pattern, this is something out of the ordinary. Neither the FTC nor the Internet had anything to do with the Wall Street meltdown in 2008.”

Really? Is it “unexpected”? Because the last I looked, taking over student loans had nothing to do with healthcare reform either. This just seems par for the course.

JavelinaBomb on May 1, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Why does the Wall Street regulation overhaul give FTC authority over the Internet?

Same reason why the IRS is incharge of enforcement of “HealthCare Reform”.

Octavia on May 1, 2010 at 4:16 PM

“against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

Clear enough.

SDN on May 1, 2010 at 4:51 PM

A dimmy-sponsored bill without hidden “gotchas” is like turkey without stuffing.

n0doz on May 1, 2010 at 5:07 PM

After 3-1/2 years of being unemployed I just started a business to buy, rehab and sell single family homes.

A month ago I learned that fixing our health care system and student loan system added a 3.8% federal tax on any capital gains I make.

Last week I learned that the EPA imposed new rules affecting every non-owner occupied dwelling built before 1978 and being renovated in a way that affects more than 6 sq. ft. of interior space or 22 sq. ft. of exterior structure. All contractors must as of 4/22/10 be EPA certified, follow new EPA work standards, and certify the end result meets mandatory EPA tests. Failure to do so exposes one to fines of $32,000/day.

Then I learned that the Dems idea of regulating Wall Street firms includes me! Yes, they want to regulate anyone who buys, rehabs and sells more than one residential property per year. Under the proposed bill I will be forced to be licensed and regulated by the Federal Government – I guess to make sure I don’t exceed the amount of money that some bureaucrat says I am entitled to earn.

I’m wondering where my country went – I want it back!

in_awe on May 1, 2010 at 5:38 PM

The overreach by these federal agencies is already appalling. Congress abrogating their responsibilities and empowering the executive branch even further definitely goes against the spirit of the Constitution and waters down the required tension between the three branches of government needed to prevent too much power from being concentrated in one branch or by one group or person.

This is highly irresponsible behavior by our representatives.

A good house-cleaning is definitely in order.

hillbillyjim on May 1, 2010 at 7:17 PM

Never let a “crisis” go to waste.

Django on May 1, 2010 at 7:39 PM

I swear to god… this administration is NOT good for my heart. I don’t know how much more of this blatant power grabbing. WHEN will American wake up? Is he egotistical enough to try and remove presidential term limits? His audacity is already quite clearly defined… how much power will he TRULY try to grab?

cannonball on May 1, 2010 at 8:45 PM

It really is beginning to look like evil is afoot in our federal government.

tarpon on May 1, 2010 at 1:13 PM

If it’s just now beginning to look like evil is afoot in our federal government then you’ve been asleep at the wheel.

Chaz706 on May 1, 2010 at 11:42 PM

If the printing press were invented today, Democrats would come up with a rationale for government to run the ink business.
RadClown on May 1, 2010 at 2:47 PM

and quickly make paper illegal, since cutting trees harms the environment…

Friendly21 on May 2, 2010 at 6:48 AM

Watching Speaker Pelosi and other demoncrates speak and tout their superiority over U.S. and always claim they are the only ones with solutions.

Specifically, when she extols U.S. you have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it, reminds me of two quotes to remember.

William G. McAdoo, “It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument.”

Frank Lehay, “Egotism is the anesthetic that dulls the pain of stupidity.”

MSGTAS on May 2, 2010 at 10:30 AM

You guys need to be careful going against this… the FTC is a better place for oversight than the FCC… and some broadband companies don’t exactly tell the whole truth about what they’re selling to their customers…

ninjapirate on May 1, 2010 at 11:52 AM

Riiiiight!! You want to use the Internet? The government wants to know what you want to post…and then MAYBE you get a license to post it.

They want control. Your loss of freedom…just an OVERSIGHT!

The point is that regulation of the Internet is totally unnecessary: government has no legitimate role there. FTC…FCC…they are merely different arms of the same octopus which is trying to regulate free speach to keep you from criticizing the government.

landlines on May 3, 2010 at 11:53 AM

“Why does the Wall Street regulation overhaul give FTC authority over the Internet?”

Maybe because somebody opened the Gates of Hell and all the demons are coming to torment us from now to the End Times?

===================

FWIW -I once thought that the Dems in Congress were writing their own bills. I now believe there is no way in Hell they could have come up with all this sh!t on their own in a mere 15 months. It’s not accidental, it’s not coincidental; EVERY PIECE OF LEGISLATION they are proposing contains some kind of poison for our country.

The Repubs need to be told in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS to embrace their “Party of No” designation. “Reaching across the aisle” on some of this “harmless” legislation (like the Puerto Rico vote) is going to blow up in your faces, guys. Time to consider EVERY Democrat-sponsored bill as an IED just waiting for you to approach it so they can blow another section of the Constitution to smithereens.

A_Nonny_Mouse on May 3, 2010 at 1:34 PM