November 2021 FOIA Requests
December 2021 FOIA Requests
February 2022 FOIA Requests
August 2022 FOIA Requests
March 2023 FOIA Request
November 19, 2021
The Chamber submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the Federal Trade Commission in November 2021 to seek detailed information on how it has manipulated its rules and procedures while potentially ceding its independent agency status to political interference. The Chamber followed up with additional requests on December 3, 2021, February 4, 2022, and August 15, 2022.
On March 1, 2023, the Chamber submitted an additional FOIA request for communications between the FTC and foreign jurisdictions related to Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard. This request served as a follow-up to concerns about FTC coordination with foreign governments after previous FOIA records revealed extensive communications with foreign agencies.
In June 2022, in response to Chamber FOIA requests, an administrative appeal, and repeated follow-up over six months, the FTC finally released its internal Procedures Manual, albeit with redactions.
While the Chamber recently prevailed in its appeal for the release of the FTC’s complete operations manual, the Commission continues to deny lawful requests for public information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) that are essential for understanding the commission’s operations.
Examples of the FTC’s overreach and lack of transparency include using ‘zombie votes’ cast by departed commissioners; potentially coordinating with foreign governments to block mergers that U.S. law may not prohibit; circumventing civil service laws; and shifting power from career administrative law judges and others to the hands of political appointees.
For these reasons, the U.S. Chamber's Litigation Center filed a lawsuit against the FTC in July 2022.
Specifically, the U.S. Chamber is suing the FTC to make public its materials related to:
- FTC’s practice of counting “zombie votes” cast by former commissioners who have already left office as well as specific “zombie votes” cast, regardless of whether they were relied upon in a rulemaking decision.
- FTC’s communications with the European Commission and other foreign jurisdictions regarding the merger of Illumina and Grail. The Commission may have collaborated with and relied upon a foreign government authority to strong-arm American corporations into abandoning a planned merger.
- FTC’s prior employment status granted to Lina Khan while serving as a “legal fellow” under former Commissioner Rohit Chopra. The position of “legal fellow” is highly unusual and not a typical title used in relationship to staff positions in support of a commissioner.
The U.S. Chamber’s full complaint against the FTC can be viewed here.