Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


This article discusses the changing relationship between Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. The authors suggest that the Commission's status as an independent agency has been eroded by the emergence of a new system of checks and balances imposed by Congress. The use of riders on appropriations bills and the enactment of statutory moratoriums have served to increase Congressional involvement in, and control over, Commission decision-making. After discussing specific examples of how these new tools of legislative oversight have affected major Commission decisions, the authors conclude that the challenge for the Commission in the future will be to learn from its mistakes and work to restore its lost independence.