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Arlington, Va. – Today, Americans for Prosperity Foundation (AFPF), a national nonprofit that educates Americans about the benefits of a free and open society, filed a complaint against the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The complaint, which follows a Freedom of Information Act request the group sent to FTC on October 14, seeks agency records involving the FTC’s decision, led by Chair Lina Khan, to rescind an agency policy statement supporting the decades-old consumer welfare standard – a legal doctrine that for nearly 50 years has served as a guide for antitrust enforcement and protected businesses against government abuse of antitrust laws.
“The FTC’s actions will harm economic progress, stifle innovation, and make it easier for the FTC to unfairly target American businesses,” said Eric Bolinder, managing policy counsel at Americans for Prosperity Foundation. “Americans deserve to know why Chair Khan and the FTC discarded the consumer welfare standard and how they may be planning to unconstitutionally weaponize the FTC against private businesses that haven’t cozied up to their regulators in Washington.”
AFPF’s complaint seeks records pertaining to the following:
The time period for this request is February 1, 2021, to the present.
After assuming office as the Chair of the FTC on June 15, the FTC, by a 3-2 vote, rescinded a policy statement from 2015 supporting the consumer welfare standard as a guide for antitrust enforcement. The Commission also:
These actions jettisoned principled antitrust enforcement and weaponized trade regulation rules. Additionally, they removed procedural and structural constraints on the FTC’s power to make new rules and regulations, initiate investigations, and bring enforcement actions against American businesses.
Khan’s FTC is actively resisting congressional oversight efforts. On July 29, a handful of members of Congress sent the FTC a letter to express concerns regarding certain Commissioners’ actions to “consolidate agency power, unilaterally assert and expand regulatory authority, and abandon bipartisan and open processes.” The congressmen included a request for documents regarding issues covered in this memo and others and gave the FTC until August 12 to respond. However, the FTC has yet to produce the documents in question.
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