Washington, D.C. (06/28/23) – Since taking the lead as the Biden administration’s top antitrust enforcers, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan and Assistant Attorney General for the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Antitrust Division Jonathan Kanter have each pushed radical agendas based on extreme interpretations of U.S. antitrust law despite their many conflicts of interest.
“It’s clear that the FTC and DOJ are intent on pursuing extreme political ideology in the name of ‘antitrust.’ Unfortunately for them, their aspirations have real-life, negative consequences, whether it be raising costs for American consumers, hurting small businesses, or putting foreign foreign rivals ahead of our country on the world stage,” said Chandler Smith Costello, spokeswoman for the Don’t Break What Works campaign.
As the leader of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, Jonathan Kanter has used his position to settle old scores by filing lawsuits that would hurt American consumers and small businesses and undermine successful companies responsible for keeping the U.S. competitive on the world stage.
“…Kanter has used his position of power to further the interests of his former clients, launching major antitrust investigations into companies such as UnitedHealth, a Cigna competitor, and Google, a rival to Microsoft. If launching serious investigations into the rivals of former clients sounds like a major ethical issue, you’re right. However, Kanter has ignored repeated calls to recuse himself from cases that present a clear conflict of interest, despite the fact that congressional Democrats forced his predecessor, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who was appointed by then-President Donald Trump, to remove himself from lawsuits involving his former clients…”
FTC Chair Lina Khan has also been previously criticized for refusing to recuse herself from cases that present clear conflicts of interest. Regardless, she has chosen to push forward with a radical “antitrust agenda” that could raise prices at home for American consumers while stifling U.S. innovation.
“…Of course, existing antitrust law doesn’t allow the FTC or the Department of Justice to simply dictate that Facebook must sell off Instagram, that Google must give up some of its search traffic to Bing, or that Amazon needs to price its store-brand products higher. To go after Big Tech companies, the government must prove they’re violating existing antitrust laws in some ways—which has led to the rash of ridiculous claims we’ve seen in recent federal and state antitrust lawsuits.
The FTC’s new antitrust suit against Amazon represents the latest in a string of actions premised on wacky interpretations and melodramatic complaints…”
“…These mistakes—Robinson-Patman, merger law based on long-abandoned populist norms, renewed attacks on low prices, hostility to bigness for its own sake—result from animus to the idea of applying economics that allow business practices that benefit consumers. Antitrust has tried populism, now resurfacing among progressives and in the Biden administration. That was the experiment that failed…”
Together, the two are pushing a flawed approach to antitrust law that is both based on failed philosophies and stretches the definition of the law.
“…Despite the fact that the antitrust theories on which the neo-Brandeisians rely are long discredited as economically foolish and legally suspect, the President has placed neo-Brandeisians in key roles. Jonathan Kanter, Department of Justice (DOJ) Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, and Lina Khan, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair, are prime examples of this flawed philosophy….As companies forgo otherwise profitable business arrangements to dodge regulators’ wrath, the losses are likely to fall hardest on everyday citizens, who will be unable to enjoy the savings. They will also miss out on expanded availability, faster delivery times, and other consumer benefits mergers often promote…”
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