Unlicensed operator rejects FCC authority, FCC rejects unlicensed operator’s rejection

They think big in Texas, and they think independent in Texas, and so it should be no surprise that an FM radio operator was not impressed when the Feds arrived at his doorstep. Some FCC agents claimed that the operator – one Raymond Frank – was lacking some piece of paper or other from some agency Back East in Washington, but Mr. Frank knew better. No “pirate broadcaster” he – no, he was operating strictly within the boundaries of the Republic of Texas, and so was not subject to the laws of the Yoo-nited States or any little ol’ FCC. (Frank also argued that the FCC’s rules violate the First Amendment. But if Frank was not a U.S. Citizen – being as how he claimed Republic of Texas citizenship and all – that argument may have been a tad inconsistent, but we digress.)

Not surprisingly, the Dallas office of the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau didn’t see things that way, and whupped Mr. Frank but good with a $10,000 fine for unauthorized operation.

The most interesting aspect of the Bureau’s Forfeiture Order is the fact that the Bureau felt the need to respond, in detail, to Frank’s claim that the FCC lacks jurisdiction over radio operations in Texas. To quote the Bureau:

We also note that Texas is a “State” of the United States of America, and it and its residents are subject to the laws of the United States. According to the to the [sic] Texas Historical Commission, Texas was annexed to the United States as the 28th state on December 29, 1845; Texas seceded from the United States and joined the Confederate States of America on January 28, 1861; and Texas officially was readmitted to the Union on March 30, 1870, following the period of Reconstruction. See http://www.thc.state.tx.us/triviafun/trvgov.shtml. Because Texas is a State, Mr. Frank’s invocation of the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act is misplaced.

Presumably the Bureau felt that, by relying for this historical review on the “Fun Facts” page of the Texas Historical Commission website, the Bureau could not be accused of any kind of Yankee Revisionism. Yee haw.