REGULATION: Agency Without Friends

The federal agencies that regulate business have regularly been denounced from every part of the ideological spectrum—but none has vexed more people more consistently than the Federal Power Commission. One oil executive calls the agency "hidebound and bureaucratic"; another terms it "a miserable failure." Consumer advocates are just as vehement. "The FPC acts as judge and jury," says one. Congress is the most critical of all. Just before the November elections, the watchdog House Oversight Subcommittee accused the FPC of everything from "preconceived ideological" commitments to "a conscious disregard of its statutory duties." It bluntly concluded that the...

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