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.
- Jul 21, 2021U.S. Chamber of Commerce Condemns FTC’s ‘Vote Now, Discuss Policy Later’ Approach to Meetings, Chilling Effect of M&A Rules
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The following statement can be attributed to Sean Heather, Senior Vice President, International Regulatory Affairs and Antitrust, U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
- Jul 12, 2021Coalition Letter on the FTC's Authority
This Coalition letter was sent to the Members of the Senate Committee Commerce, Science, and Transportation on the Federal Trade Commission's statutory authority and H.R. 2668, the "Consumer Protection and Recovery Act."
- Jun 29, 2021U.S. Chamber Comments to the FTC on July 1 Open Meeting
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce writes to express our concerns with the Open Meeting scheduled for July 1, 2021 that was noticed on June 24, 2021. Although the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC” or “Commission”) has expressed its intention to “open the work of the Commission” to the public, the FTC has failed to provide meaningful notice or adequate opportunity to comment on the pending items to be voted upon on July 1.
- May 26, 2021Pushing Back Against FTC Overreach
The Federal Trade Commission is seeking, through legislation, authority it is not supposed to have.
- Apr 26, 2021U.S. Chamber Letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the FTC's Statutory Authority
This Hill letter was sent to the Members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in advance of a hearing entitled, “The Consumer Protection and Recovery Act: Returning Money to Defrauded Consumers."
- Apr 19, 2021U.S. Chamber Letter to the Senate Commerce Committee on the FTC's Statutory Authority
This Hill letter was sent to the Members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, in advance of a hearing entitled, “Strengthening the Federal Trade Commission’s Authority to Protect Consumers."
- May 31, 2019Chamber Comments to FTC On Data Privacy
U.S. Chamber Comments to the Federal Trade Commission supporting a national privacy framework.
- Dec 21, 2018Chamber Comments to FTC On Data Privacy
Comments to the FTC calling for a national privacy framework that is risk-based.
- Oct 27, 2017Comments to FTC on Informational Injury Workshop
VIA ELECTRONIC FILING
To: Mr. Donald S. Clark
Federal Trade Commission
Office of the Secretary
400 7th Street, SW
5th Floor, Suite 5610 (Annex A)
Washington, DC 20024
Re: Informational Injury Workshop and P175413
Dear Mr. Clark: