The Federal Communications Commission has acquired the power to make forfeitures it’s calling a ‘Notices of Apparent Liability.’ Note that word, “apparent,” as opposed to actual or real.
These are not jus’ accusations that a law has allegedly been violated; they are assertions by the FCC that a law’s been violated without any due process. And like that — you’re presumed guilty.
There are no rules of evidence; no courtroom proceeding, no burden of proof placed on the FCC to prove guilt. The agency has merely to assert guilt and that’s it.
The “violator” is then told what his punishment will be. Of course, the FCC gives its victims the “opportunity” to “file a response” after the fact — which it can ignore in whole or part.
Recently, the FCC demanded $29.6 million in “voluntary contributions to the U.S. Treasury” from OneLink, TeleDias, TeleUno and Cytel, after they we implicated in ‘slamming and cramming’ activity. Mind you, they were only accused of switching long distance carriers without notice and adding extra charges to the customer’s phone bill, but never indicted.
Welcome to the Banana Republic of America.