Free Lunch Podcast Episode 10 – Heimlich Maneuver on Operation Choke Point?

On August 16, the Department of Justice issued a letter repudiating the Department’s participation in an initiative known as “Operation Choke Point” during the Obama administration. Operation Choke Point sought to deprive members of disfavored industries, such as payday lenders and firearms dealers, of the right to access the banking system. The call will discuss Operation Choke Point, the Department of Justice Letter, and litigation against federal agencies who have participated in Operation Choke Point.

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 9 – Is There a “Death Squad” at the U.S. Patent Office?: Examining the Patent Trial and Appeal Board

In 2011, Congress created a new administrative tribunal in the U.S. Patent Office with the power to cancel previously granted patents, called the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). The PTAB was created to provide an efficient and inexpensive administrative process for eliminating low-quality patents – what are called “bad patents.” Despite its laudable purpose, the PTAB has earned a reputation among some as a prime example of regulatory overreach. The PTAB’s critics cite a wide range of concerns including inadequate due process protections and bias against patents. A former federal appellate chief judge even referred to PTAB administrative judges as “patent death squads.” So, is the PTAB indeed harming the property rights that have helped to drive the U.S. innovation economy for over 200 years or, is it functioning as intended? What are the concerns of its detractors? If these concerns are valid, does the PTAB need simple reform or more?

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 8 – Bureaucracy in America

Administrative agencies, and extensive regulation of the economy, have always existed in America. But from the founding to 1900, agencies were constrained by basic principles of representation, separation of powers, and judicial review. In his new book, Bureaucracy in America: The Administrative State’s Challenge to Constitutional Government, Professor Joseph Postell explores American history, from the Revolutionary War to the present, to answer such questions as: What is the administrative state; Is it compatible with the basic principles of American constitutionalism; How have American thinkers and statesmen answered these questions in the past; What has changed since then; and, Do these changes pose a threat to our constitutional system?

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 7 – Cardiac Arrest: A Cautionary Tale

Howard Root started Vascular Solutions, a medical device company, from scratch. Fifteen years later, his Minnesota company had created over 500 American jobs and developed more than 50 new medical devices that saved and improved lives…

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 6 – IoT: Rise of the Machines?

The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of various devices to the Internet. The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing in prominence almost exponentially. Today, manufacturers are creating products with cyber capabilities that range from life-critical systems such as cars or medical devices, to more prosaic, even whimsical products like internet-connected toasters. The expansion of connectivity brings with it risks to security and privacy…

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 5 – Laws, Regulations, and “Regulatory Dark Matter”

Congress passes and the President signs several dozen laws every year. Meanwhile, federal departments and agencies issue well over 3,000 regulations of varying significance. Does Congress have a clear grasp of the amount and cost of the thousands of executive branch and federal agency proclamations and issuances, including guidance documents, memoranda, bulletins, circulars, and letters, that carry practical (if not always technically legally) binding regulatory effect? There are hundreds of “significant” agency guidance documents now in effect, plus many thousands of other such documents that are subject to little democratic accountability. Is the government trading the cost and benefits of informal as well as formal rules?

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 4 – LabMD v. FTC: A David Against Goliath Story

Mike Daugherty is the CEO of LabMD, a medical testing lab. He has spent most of the last decade defending his company against charges that it had deficient cybersecurity practices. The early years of this battle are recorded in his book, “The Devil Inside the Beltway”. In so doing, he has become the only litigant to challenge the basic authority that underlies more than 200 enforcement actions relating to cybersecurity and online privacy that the FTC has brought over the past 15 years…

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 3 – “Uber of the Sky”: The Story of Flytenow

Flytenow was a ridesharing platform for small planes. The company was founded by two pilots, Alan Guichard and Matt Voska. This kind of cost-sharing arrangement was explicitly authorized by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Flytenow software facilitated the cost-sharing in accordance with FAA rules and also provided a breadth of information about the flight and the pilot including his/her license type, experience, past flight ratings, and social media…

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 2 – SEC Increased Use of Administrative Proceedings and “The $2,200 Man”

In many federal investigations, a regulatory agency must bring legal action against a company or individual through the traditional court system. However, some regulatory agencies, like the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), have a powerful alternative – administrative proceedings. Rather than filing a lawsuit in federal court, the SEC can institute an administrative proceeding, which is presided over by an Administrative Law Judge. In doing so, the SEC can put nearly any company or individual at a distinct litigation disadvantage, depriving them of significant rights and thereby increasing its own chances of success…

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Free Lunch Podcast Episode 1

The Regulatory Transparency Project seeks to identify and raise awareness of the excesses of the administrative state in this country. All too often, over-regulation of the economy stifles innovation, productivity, opportunity and ultimately, the American Dream. We want people to look at regulations which are burdensome and extremely inefficient and not simply submit to them as the cost of doing business but rather, look for real and concrete ways to change them for the better.

The RTP is a years-long endeavor designed to reach and to educate a broad audience. The purpose, in part, is to illustrate that regulatory excess is not a partisan issue but, a good government issue. We believe that such an approach can lead to both immediate change and, more importantly, development of a healthy societal skepticism of regulation.

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