F. James Sensenbrenner, a long-time Republican representative from Wisconsin, on Sunday night was named COMPTEL’s Champion of Competition in the association’s 25th year, for his record of defending competition in telecommunications and other markets.
Sensenbrenner — whom COMPTEL Chairman J. Sherman Henderson III termed “a humdinger” of a candidate for the evening’s award — heads the House Judiciary Committee and recently has positioned himself as a formidable potential foe in Congress’s attempts to rewrite the Telecommunications Act of 1996. “Several pro-competition and deregulations goals of the 1996 Act have yet to be realized,” Sensenbrenner said as he noted the industry’s pendulum seems to be swinging toward an oligarchy.
Sensenbrenner is active in the antitrust arena; since his initial election in 1978, he has spent much of his political career working to prevent anticompetitive market behavior, including in telecommunications. Last week, Sensenbrenner announced he is establishing a task force on telecommunications and antitrust issues. He said he will hold a series of hearings on consolidation and other aspects of the 1996 Act that are being reviewed for rewriting, such as net neutrality and taxes. “I want to ensure consolidation receives the … scrutiny it deserves,” he said, to applause and a standing ovation.