The Justice Department has been taking "cheap shots" at the Interstate Commerce Commission, according to ICC chairman Dan O'Neal, who added, "they have taken a position for all-out deregulation and are using every straw to advance that position."
In an informal morning meeting with several reporters yesterday, O'Neal touched upon a broad range of subjects concerning his agency, which, according to administration spokesman, will be a prime subject or deregulation in the coming year.
He said he was enjoying "good relations with the Department of Transportation and other transportation regulatory bodies," but when the Justice Department, O'Neil referred to a speech made two weeks ago by Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the anti-trust division Joe Sims.
"Their arguments would be more salable if they were taken on firmer ground," O'Neal said, calling Sims' sppech "a cheap shot."
In that speech, Sims said "the ICC was not about to allow itself to get trapped in a seamless web of simple logic," while describing an apparent contradiction in ICC regulations.
The Justice Department antitrust division has been on record as opposing many practices of the ICC on the grounds that they are anti-competitive and possibly antitrust violationw.
The antitrust division frequently submits opinions on matters before the ICC, such as rate increases or mergers.
O'Neal said he had an "amiable relationship" with antitrust division chief John Shenefield, but added, "I'm not sure it's all that productive."
On other subjects, O'Neal said he had talked with Mary Schuman of the White House staff who assured him that he would have some input into the White House decision making process concerning deregulation proposals.