Regulatory capture

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Regulatory Capture occurs when a government agency charged with regulating an industry starts to reflect the interests of the industry it regulates. In other words, the agency becomes "too cozy" with those it is charged to oversee. ThinkProgress defines "regulatory capture" more broadly, going beyond the "agency" definition to say it is a phenomenon wherein private interests seize control of the entire policymaking or rulemaking apparatus for their own interests. [1][2] ThinkProgress offers the example of Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California), the Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2011, who sent letters to more than 150 trade associations, companies and think tanks seeking their input about which government regulations on their industry they would like to target for removal. [3]

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External resources


  1. Megan McCardle Eileen Rominger Heads to the SEC, The Atlantic/Business, January 18, 2011
  2. David Rosen and Bruce Kushnick How AT&T, Verizon and the Telecom Giants Have Captured the Regulator Supposed to Control Them, AlterNet, January 8, 2011
  3. Matthew Yglesias Embracing Regulatory Capture,, blog, January 4, 2011