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CEI Asks Court to Compel FCC to Respond to Petition on Charter Cable Merger

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After over a year and a half without response from the agency, the Competitive Enterprise Institute is representing individuals taking the Federal Communications Commission to court regarding the 2016 Charter/Brighthouse/Time Warner cable merger. Arguing that the FCC has a statutory obligation to respond to CEI’s June 2016 petition, CEI today requests the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to compel the agency to fulfill its duty to respond to CEI’s petition.

“The FCC overstepped its limited authority under former Chairman Wheeler,” said Ryan Radia of CEI. “The agency imposed harmful merger conditions on Charter that have nothing to do with the merger itself, which is why CEI filed a petition with the FCC in 2016.”

CEI argued in their 2016 petition that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to place such conditions. These conditions increase costs for consumers who will have to foot the bill for an overreaching federal agency.

“This filing is meant to cure two violations of the separation of powers. Our initial petition challenged the FCC decision to go beyond the scope of its statutory authority. And in failing to respond to CEI’s petition, the FCC has disregarded federal statute requiring a response within 90 days. Our Constitution’s system of separation of powers hinges on executive agencies following federal law,” said Ted Frank, CEI’s Director of Litigation.

In October of 2015 CEI filed comments saying the FCC should grant the merger, but without conditions. In May 2016, the FCC approved the merger but with the unlawful conditions. In June 2016, CEI filed its petition and to date has heard no response from the agency. Today CEI filed a petition requesting a writ of mandamus compelling the FCC to respond to CEI’s 2016 petition.

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