Excellent point, that applies not just to this department but to the rest of the federal government as well. (Probably nearly ubiquitous in the states, too...) The problem: It's a "captive agency."
A crooksandliars.com blog post from 2010 is informative on the topic, and well worth a read IMO:
Inch by inch, the tentacles of industry reach further and further into the regulator, until it silently and invisibly comes under industry control and becomes the industry's puppet, until it is serving the special interests and not the public interest.
Sound familiar? Pretty much any issue that is your particular passion will have led you to a department that is supposed to "regulate" it, only to find that agency in the pocket of the corporate interests involved. The level of corruption is breathtaking. I now find it hard to listen to politicians or media people talking about corruption in other countries.
Causes? Solutions? Big topic. One idea that I think does not get enough attention is so simple that it often gets dismissed as simplistic: Big = Bad. Of course E.F. Schumacher put it more elegantly, but the negative formulation might more directly articulate what we're up against vis-à-vis corporate power. For my fellow bibliophages: I am much influenced in this thinking by Leopold Kohr's The Breakdown of Nations. In it he posits, and supports, the notion that it is invariable in human history, on every level from the individual to the empire, that if we are not subject to a sufficiently potent countervailing force, then we behave badly. I think it is fairly clear that the system of countervailing forces ("checks and balances") has broken down in today's U.S.A.