In the previous executive branch, the emphasis on politicization of functions has become ever clearer since the release of emails showing Karl Rove drummed out a DoJ employee who wouldn’t fit in with the White House agenda. Listening to hearings held July 14, 2009 on consumer protection by the Federal Trade Commission, that stance was exhibited again in the testimony of former Chairman Timothy Muris.
The protection of consumers was so lacking during the Bush administration that we will be digging ourselves out of the financial disaster for years. It takes a blatant disregard for the facts to hold up anyone in the Bush administration as a good example of a protector. Nevertheless, former Chairman Muris was aggressively insistent that he had done a great job.
Despite disputes of his points by present Chairman Vladeck, who was trying to simplify prosecution of fraud, Muris continually insisted that the FTC had more than enough rules. He elaborated on that claim by maintaining that when the Democratic congress attempted to shut down fraud in connection with abusive mortgage assistance offers, his staff spent more time ‘managing those new rules’ than actually protecting consumers. At no point did he mention that it was on his directorial stint that the assignment of personnel took place, although he did not ask for additional staff. That consumer protection was abysmal during his term did not enter into his argument.
Perhaps inadvertently, Muris’ testimony did present a legal concept he insisted was absolute, and had it been applied, would have been excellent grounds for defending the public interest.
During the course of defending his term, former Chairman Muris was adamant that for prosecution of fraud, it was sufficient that a contract be broken. This is a very interesting point, as there has been absolutely no attempt to prosecute insurance companies for violation of their contracts, although those violations have been epidemic. Had violation of contract been, as Muris claimed determined his legal actions, grounds enough for prosecution, there would be a lot fewer bankruptcies in this country.
In the insurance industry, as I have a previously pointed out, we have a process that has been violated time and again, until it has become the practice of much of the industry. The industry regularly and customarily has been writing contracts, called policies, that demand payment for services, but that are not honored when the insured person makes a claim for those contracted services.
In arguing with FTC Chairman Vladeck, who has found that his commission does not presently have sufficient capacity for prosecution, Muris insisted that he could indeed have kept consumer safe if he had followed his own beliefs. Although Chairman Vladeck was insistent that without rules specific to mortgage fraud, each case has to be started from ground level and each has to consume much more time than it should, Muris maintained that only contract violation is needed to pursue any fraud case.
The criminals who have damaged this country should be prosecuted, and their testimony should be taken seriously. From his own testimony, former FTC Chairman Muris has neglected his duties to prevent the great financial loss in the country. More than 60% of bankruptcies result from health related expenses. Had he done as he advised the present FTC Chairman and prosecuted fraudulent insurance actions, the present level of bankruptcies would not have resulted.
This is yet another of a long list of actions against this country committed by the worst administration ever.