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Muris: FTC budget cuts could be devastating - Broadcasting & Cable

Muris: FTC budget cuts could be devastating

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In response to Sen. Fritz Hollings' (D-S.C.) repeated comments that he may
write legislation to cut budgets and salaries at the Federal Trade Commission,
FTC chairman Timothy Muris said Monday that any such cuts
would 'eliminate the commission's ability to enforce the laws under its
jurisdiction. If Sen. Hollings were to succeed in eliminating the commissioners'
salaries, the agency would have no legal authority to move forward with its
responsibilities, including its rulemaking, investigative and law-enforcement
functions.'

Hollings and Muris have been in a sort of feud after the FTC and
the Department of Justice agreed to split up their duties with regard to
reviewing industry mergers and the DOJ took responsibility for all media-related
combinations.

Hollings was upset that he was not consulted before the plan was first announced
in January, and he's been giving the two agencies -- particularly the
FTC, which is under Hollings' committee jurisdiction -- a hard time ever since.

A spokesman for Hollings said the senator is frustrated with the FTC and its lack of
willingness to work with him. 'He's got serious questions about how this plan was
derived, so he's looking at a variety of options. Nothing has been prescribed yet,' the
spokesman added. 

An FTC spokeswoman said, 'We are eager to provide information and respond to
requests.'

But a source said Muris has requested to meet with
Hollings and Hollings has refused to schedule any meeting, limiting the progress
the agency has been able to make.

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