By Scott Wallsten
Published in The Hill on November 17, 2014
Independent regulatory agencies are strange creatures. They are part of the government, yet not immediately accountable to elected officials. Whenever an independent agency makes an unpopular decision, opponents complain about “unelected officials” making important public policy decisions, just as they do when courts reach decisions they don’t like.
But one reason Congress and other legislatures around the world create independent agencies is to insulate their decision-making processes from short-term political pressures.
The recent dust-up between President Obama and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler demonstrates, however, that being called an independent agency does not necessarily make it so.
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