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.
- Jun 21, 2022Congressional Price Hike? How the American Innovation and Choice Online Act Raises Prices on Consumers
Inflation is already hurting families, workers, employers, and our economy, and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act would only lead to higher prices for consumers.
- Jun 06, 2022Six Ways the American Innovation and Choice Online Act Would Empower FTC Chair Lina Khan
The American Innovation and Online Choice Act would give unprecedented authority to FTC and DOJ bureaucrats to micro-manage the American economy and pick winners and losers in the marketplace.
- May 26, 2022Chamber Letter on DOJ and FTC Listening Forums on Mergers and Acquisitions
The letter outlines concerns that the FTC and DOJ Listening Forums on mergers and acquisitions were intentionally designed to cast mergers as harmful.
- May 16, 2022Federal Trade Commission at Full Strength: What to Expect Next
Alvaro Bedoya’s confirmation to the FTC gives Chair Lina Khan a 3:2 Democratic majority and potentially the tie-breaking vote she needs to push forward her radical, anti-business agenda. Here’s why that’s a problem.
- May 16, 2022FTC Procedures Manual 2021
The procedures manual summarizes the procedures the FTC follows to execute its responsibilities for the Commission decision making process.
- May 10, 2022Hill Letter on S. 4145, the “Consumer Protection Remedies Act of 2022"
This Hill letter was sent to the Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, opposing S. 4145, the “Consumer Protection Remedies Act of 2022."
- Apr 22, 2022The FTC’s Consumer Protection Agenda Could Hinder Innovation and E-Commerce
As the Federal Trade Commission consolidates power and mulls further consumer protection enforcement and rules, American businesses should be on notice that their AI innovation and ability to attract new earners could be at risk.
- Mar 16, 2022DC Policy Debate On Competition And Antitrust Needs A Reset
Industrial concentration is a myth that underpins the administration's executive order on competition, its narrative around inflation and serves as its excuse to overregulate. America is home to the world's most vibrant and dynamic economy thanks to vigorous competition in the marketplace that drives new ideas and innovative products and services for consumers.
- Mar 09, 2022Industrial Concentration in the United States: 2002-2017
This whitepaper analyzes U.S. economic census data to empirically expose the faulty premise that underlies the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy.