Sean Heather Sean Heather
Senior Vice President, International Regulatory Affairs & Antitrust, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


July 12, 2023


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is engaged in an unprecedented regulatory blitz against our economy. The Chamber has been at the front of the effort to defend American free enterprises from a growing list of FTC’s abuses.

In February, we sent a letter to Congress on the need for increased oversight into the agency’s rulemaking and operations, and we thank members of the House Judiciary Committee for its  efforts. 

Here’s what agency leadership needs to answer:

Will Chair Lina Khan and other senior officials commit to following the guidance of FTC ethic officials and explaining instances where decisions diverged from their advice?

At numerous times, both in her confirmation hearings and in subsequent hearings before the House of Representatives, Chair Khan has affirmed that she would consult agency ethics officials’ and seek their guidance.  In some ethics matters, she is required by law to recuse herself, in other instances she is not required to follow the legal advice she receives.  However, in all instances, Chair Khan is accountable for the decisions she makes.  In the case involving Meta she has intentionally thwarted the truth about not publicly explaining her decision not to recuse, to the point that a fellow Commissioner resigned over the situation.  Chair Khan needs to commit to either follow the advice of ethics officials going forward or be prepared to be public and explain when she does not.  

What is the full extent of the FTC’s communications with foreign jurisdictions regarding U.S. companies and U.S. mergers?

Under the current  leadership, the FTC has been “colluding with foreign governments” to scuttle mergers of American companies in ways that violate principles of due process.  The FTC has openly suggested that foreign agencies are consultants to their work, and emails strongly suggest the FTC reached out to foreign agencies to encourage them to object to a merger, despite the lack of any meaningful nexus with those jurisdictions.  The FTC has also helped foreign governments implement protectionist policies that directly harm U.S. companies.  Chair Khan needs to commit to providing Congress the full extent of her agency’s communications and coordination with foreign authorities against U.S. companies.

Amid mismanagement and declining enforcement actions at the agency, how does the agency justify its request for additional resources?

The FTC’s primary mission is as an enforcement agency, yet under current leadership, enforcement numbers are down.  Those cases it has brought have wasted agency time and resources because courts have refused to endorse the FTC’s logic.  Staff morale has plummeted, 28.8% of FTC employees responded to that they “disagree or strongly disagree” that the agency’s leaders “maintain high standards of honesty and integrity.”  Further, the agency has prioritized an ideologically driven policy crusade to regulate every corner of the economy, extending beyond the limits of its statues.  Chair Khan needs to commit to reverse the agency’s  present course or otherwise expect Congress to reign in the FTC’s Budget.

About the authors

Sean Heather

Sean Heather

Sean Heather is Senior Vice President for International Regulatory Affairs and Antitrust.

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