URL 35: The FCC’s Clarification of Its “No More Double-Billing” Order (December 9, 1972) (In Chapter 37, page 174) (352 words) (38,891 cum words)
|More than a decade ago, the Commission notified broadcast licensees that it regarded the practice of fraudulent billing “as contrary to the public interest, and that appropriate proceedings will be instituted in all cases where evidence of double billing by licensees is found to exist.” (Public Notice, March 9, 1962, FCC 62-272.) In 1965, the Commission adopted Rules prohibiting fraudulent billing practices and issued a Public Notice illustration certain specific forms of these practices with which it was familiar. Report and Order in Docket 153996, 1 FCC 2d 1968; Public Notice on Applicability of Fraudulent Billing Rule, October 22, 1965, FCC 63-952. By Memorandum Opinion and Order released on May 18, 1970, the Commission added language to the Rule to make completely clear the existing prohibition of the Rule against any form of false billing. At the same time, two more examples of fraudulent billing practices were added to the Public Notice of October 22, 1965. (The fraudulent billing Rules, originally designated as Sections 73.124 (AM), 73.299 (FM), and 73.678 (TV), are now consolidated as Section 73.1205, which is applicable to all three services.)
During the past ten years, the Commission has designated for renewal or revocation hearing a number of cases based in whole or in part on issues involving fraudulent billing. In many other cases, it has imposed forfeitures in amounts ranging up to the statutory maximum of $10,000.
However, the Commission continues to receive fraudulent billing complaints, which frequently are confirmed by staff investigation and thus indicate that past sanctions have by no means accomplished their purpose of causing all licensees to discontinue this practice.
The Commission considers violation of the fraudulent billing rule to be a particularly serious one because it involves participation by the licensee in a fraud, and thus raises serious questions as to his qualifications to remain a licensee. Therefore, it intends to examine each case more closely in light of the questions raised as to the licensee’s qualifications.
Action by the Commission November 29, 1972. Commissioners Burch (Chairman), Robert E. Lee, Johnson, H. Rex Lee, Reid, Wiley, and Hooks. Sent to all broadcast licensees.