Members of the Senate and House yesterday asked their colleagues to support a joint resolution that would reaffirm "competitive principles" as the goal of federal regulation in the telecommunications industry - a proposal aimed directly at American Telephone & Telegraph Co.'s recent efforts to protect a monopoly status.
In the wake of a Federal Communications Commission decision that found AT&T's rates reasonable and its overall performance "excellent," Rep. Timonthy E. Worth (D-Colo.) and 22 other House members introduced the proposed resolution. Sen. Gary Hart (D-Colo.) offered a similar measure in the Senate.
Wirth said his "pro-competition" resolution is designed to counter what he called the "deceptively labeled" Consumer Communications Reform Act. legislation sponsored last year and again in 1977 by AT&T, the nation's largest utility.
Hart said the AT&T-supported bill is designed to protect its paramount position in the domestic telephone industry - "asking us to place our dependence on one corporation for all our future telecommunications needs."
About 200 members of Congress supported the so-called Bell bill last year but fewer than 40 members have backed it in the current session, according to Wirth. The decline of support indicates that "people are realizing this bill isn't a consumer nor a reform bill," Wirth contended.
The Colorado Democrats said their proposal would reaffirm the 1934 Communications Act by permitting telephone industry competition wherever it serves the public interest.
The FCC, meanwhile, released yesterday several statements by its members on the conclusion of a six-year investigation into AT&T's operations. A press release outlining major findings was issued Wednesday night and the complete report is due late next week.
According to commissioner Joseph R. Fogarty, the expense to the FCC, AT&T and other participants in the investigation was "well over" $10 million, with 16,437 pages of transcript and another 16,000 pages of exhibits.
Despite this outlay, Fogarty said, the commission did not serve the public interest as substantially as it could because little attention was focused on the Bell System's message telecommunications service (MTS) rate structure.
Five of the seven commissioners joined Fogarty in expressing a similar concern, making it certain that the agency is about to address the lawfulness of these particular rates in the near future.
FCC chairman Richard E. Wiley blamed the lack of attention to long distance MTS rates on the agency's own trial staff. Overall rate levels of the Bell System were found to be "just and reasonable" for interstate and foreign operations but the agency emphasized that this week's decision did not address the lawfulness of the MTS rates, contained in several specific rate filings.
Wiley's statement yesterday also assailed the commission's majority decision to permit AT&T to include advertising and charitable contributions in its cost of doing business - the rate base upon which actual consumer bills are computed.
"As a result of the FCC's action . . . the general ratepayer will be compelled involuntarily to support advertising and contributions that AT&T chooses to provide - even where the sole purpose is to enhance its corporate image and standings," Wiley stated.
Last year; the Bell System spent over $100 million for advertising and nearly $20 million for contributions, in interstate and intrastate operations, expenses that will grow in future years, Wiley forecast.
Wirth said yesterday his resolution was drafted several weeks ago and does not address the issue of breaking up AT&T from its manufacturing and research companies, Western Electric and Bell Telephone Laboratories. The FCC said it would make no recommendations on the divestiture issue, having found no evidence to support a breakup.
At issue on Capitol Hill is AT&T's contention that new competition approved in recent years by the FCC - both for telecommunications equipment supplies and in long-distance, private line services for large-volume customers - is robbing the Bell System of some lucrative business and leaving it with a costly national network of facilities. The end result of increased competition, AT&T has argued, would be higher consumer rates. consulting arrangement.
At his conirmation hearings before the Senate Finance Committee, Blumenthal described in general his long-term consulting arrangement with Bendix but in public testimony gave no details or figures for the money he would receive. He supplied the committee privately with a financial statement.
That financial statement never has been made public.
He said he had agreed to accept no payments for Bendix while Treasury Secretary and "I will not be required to consult at any time while I am in office nor will I be required to consult at any time after leaving office where consultation would involve a violation of the conflict-of-interest law.
"Finally, I will disqualify myself rom participating in any way in any ruling, determination, proceeding or other particular material in which Bendix or certain other organizations with which I have a relationship has a financial interest," he said.
Blumenthal said that consultation with the committee and his own lawyers had convinced him that he would be involved in no conflict of interest under the arrangements adopted. The finance committee members did not challenge his assertion.
The consultant's fee was a portion of $2 million Blumenthal received from Bendix in the 16 months before he went to work as Treasury Secretary, the records show. The payment to the former Bendix president and chief officer was in several forms, including salary, bonuses, stock options and consulting fees.
Although all the payments were made in the 16-month period, part was earned in previous years, the records show.
Blumenthal joined Bendix in 1967 and became president and chief officer in 1971. Bendix earnings have nearly doubled to $3 billion a year since then.
As President Carter's Treasury Secretary, Blumenthal's salary is $63,000 a year.
A proxy statement prepared for Bendix's annual meeting today shows Blumenthal got $578,438 in salary and bonuses during fiscal 1976 - Oct. 1, 1976, to Sept. 30, 1976. He received additional salary of about $70,000 during fiscal 1977 for his 3 1/2 months on the Bendix payroll, the statement showed.
Blumenthal showed a paper profit of more than $885,000 on stock options he exercised during that period, according to the proxy statement.
A company official said the firm paid Blumenthal an additional $240,000 when he resigned "in recognition of his contributions to Bendix over the years." The spokesman said that included bonuses for Blumenthal's performance during fiscal 1977 and compensated him for bonuses and stock options he would have received had he stayed at Bendix.
Blumenthal received additional stock, which the company valued at about $120,000, to compensate for income deferred in 1968 and 1969.
The consulting fees are in addition to Blumenthal's pension benefits from Bendix. He will receive $53.976 a year begin drawing the pension at a reduced rate at 55.