Americans Deserve a Transparent and Accountable FTC
The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) recent actions are alarming and pose a serious threat to our economy.
American companies are already facing historic challenges with inflation, strained supply chains and worker shortages, and the FTC's actions are only accelerating uncertainty and threatening our economy.
Under Chairwoman Lina Khan, the FTC has radically departed from its core mission to protect consumers and competition.
Rather, the FTC is overstepping its regulatory authority, undermining our system of checks and balances, ignoring due process, and bypassing longstanding regulatory norms to expansively regulate industries and manage our economy with a government knows best approach.
Areas of Overreach
- Secret Rules, Secret VotesAllowing a former Commissioner to continue exercising voting powers – particularly with respect to contested matters – is not only bad government, it is unlawful.
- Investigations by fiatThe FTC abandoned its longstanding bipartisan approach to having all five FTC Commissioners cast votes on whether to authorize an antitrust investigation.
- Threats to legitimate businessesThe FTC fired off blanket warning letters to more than 1,800 businesses making it clear that they’d face civil fines for violating the law. This contrasts with the fact that the law only allows such fines to be imposed where companies are knowingly in violation.
- Blacklisting of companiesThe FTC is blacklisting some companies, requiring them to get “pre-approval” before merging.
- Embracing a “government knows best” approachUnder Chairwoman Khan, the FTC has shifted away from its long-standing, bipartisan strategic approach in pursuit of worrisome changes in process that are critical to legitimate enforcement of competition and consumer protection laws.
- Abandoning longstanding Section 5 guidanceBy abandoning its longstanding enforcement approach, known as Section 5 guidance, the FTC is refusing to keep consumers central to measuring harm to competition and eliminating any balancing test that weighs benefits against harms in the market.
In the Future
The FTC is overstepping its authority, yet some policymakers want to give it even more power.
- Fining AuthoritySome in Congress want to give the FTC massive fining authority for first time violations of vague statutes, unfairly leaving companies to guess first and find out later whether their business practices violate the law. This erodes due process and will have a massive chilling effect on our economy.
- Rulemaking AuthorityLegislation designed to outsource Congress’ rulemaking authority would allow the FTC to write the rules under its broad and nebulous authority that it would also enforce. Such outsourcing efforts would combine regulatory, enforcement, and judicial functions into a single, powerful agency with little accountability.
- Antitrust OverreachRather than stronger enforcement of our existing antitrust laws, a series of legislative bills would empower the FTC to pick winners and losers in the market. Such an approach would deeply undermine incentives to invest and compete in the market, resulting in a less innovative economy that damages our international competitiveness.
- Budget BoostCurrently, Congress is planning to more than double the FTC’s budget by giving it an additional $500 million dollars at a time when it is running wild over our economy and acting as a super-regulator.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Stands Up to FTC Going Rogue
Chamber CEO Clark: ‘The FTC is waging a war against American businesses, so the U.S. Chamber is fighting back’
Timeline of an Agency Gone Rogue
In 1914, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was created when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Trade Commission Act into law. Since its founding, the FTC has held a unique and multifaceted role in the U.S. administrative state and the economy.
- Oct 03, 2022FTC Records on Legal Fellow Program
FTC response to a Chamber FOIA request on Chair Lina Khan's previous employment as a Legal Fellow at the FTC.
- Sep 20, 2022Lina Khan’s Unfair and Deceptive Approach to Antitrust
Congress never envisioned the FTC to serve as the morality police over the market. Lina Khan thinks otherwise.
- Sep 13, 2022The Numerous, Significant Flaws in the American Innovation and Choice Online Act
Given the American Innovation and Choice Online Act’s numerous and significant flaws, it is no wonder that there is a range of diverse voices who oppose its passage.
- Aug 31, 2022Why FTC’s Lawsuit Against Meta Is Concerning for the Entire Business Community
Rather than economics, the FTC’s complaint against Meta seems grounded in the malleable concept of “potential future competition.” Here's why the business community should be concerned.
- Jul 21, 2022Voters to Congress: Lower Prices, Leave Tech Alone
A new poll reveals that voters oppose Congressional proposals to add new antitrust regulations for technology companies, and a majority of voters are more likely to oppose candidates who support such regulations.
- Jul 19, 2022The White House Wants to “Fix” the Exploding Beer Market
Beer and other alcohol markets are exploding with competition and new competitors; yet, the Biden Administration wants to exert a heavy-hand in micromanaging these markets.
- Jul 14, 2022U.S. Chamber of Commerce Sues the Federal Trade Commission for Unlawfully Withholding Public Records
Lawsuit seeks transparency and accountability from the FTC
- Jul 12, 2022How Proposed Legislation Would Micromanage Beef Markets
In a rush to address soaring meat prices, Congress is considering several bills that would dramatically expand the federal government’s role and ultimately harm consumers.