Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Is Specter Overstepping Congressional Bounds?
Posted by Greg Reeson
May 16, 2008

The Associated Press reported yesterday that Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) is calling for an independent investigation into the New England Patriots' taping of signals used by other NFL teams. Specter is reported to have said the following during a criticism of the NFL's handling of the issue: "What is necessary is an objective investigation. And this one has not been objective."

The problem here is that Specter is overstepping his bounds as a Senator. It is not the job of the Congress to investigate an internal matter (a rules violation) by a private enterprise. The NFL is an independent, for-profit organization that provides an entertainment product to the public. An issue within the organization arose, and the head of the organization, Roger Goodell, dealt with it by fining the coach half a million dollars, fining the team a quarter of a million dollars, and taking away a first round pick in the next NFL draft.

Why does Specter feel that the Congress should be involved? What legitimate role could the Congress possibly have in this internal NFL matter? If the public is dissatisfied with the NFL's handling of the taping incident, rules violations, the integrity of the game, or any other matter concerning the NFL, individual citizens are free to stop spending their money on tickets, parking, concessions, and merchandise.

While Specter did express his preference for the NFL to arrange an independent investigation by itself, he reserved the right to initiate congressional involvement. This is a classic example of a member of Congress overstepping his bounds and intruding into an area in which he has no business as an elected official.

And why is he doing this? Is he really concerned about the NFL's business practices? Other quotes in the AP story may shed some light on Specter's motivation. According to the news story, Specter said, "I'm elected by 12 million people, and a lot of them are Steeler fans....Frankly I'm incensed about what happened with the Steelers...." Specter was referring to a Steeler's playoffs loss to the Patriots three years ago.

Is this all about being a disgruntled fan or representing disgruntled fans? Or is this a result of the genuine concern of an elected federal official? Either way, I don't care. To me, it's a simple case of a member of congress sticking his nose into a place where it doesn't belong because he believes he has more power and authority than is actually granted to him as a U.S. Senator.


Golden Bear said...

I would think that the Senate would have bigger and more important things to discuss. Like, oh I don't know maybe the failing economy and rising gas prices! Come on let's get back to the real work!

K of P said...

Arlen Specter, he's Comcastic!

Lisa said...

I have been wondering why Specter would be contemplating another run for Senate in 2010. Now I see why: His work is not done.

Thank God he's out there representing the best interests of Pennsylvania Conservatives.


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