House Judiciary Committee Must Hold Biden’s Antitrust Chiefs Accountable, Starting Tomorrow

Washington, D.C. (07/12/23) – Tomorrow, the House Judiciary Committee will question Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan at an oversight hearing about the agency’s antitrust agenda and disregard for ethics recommendations from officials at the agency. 

“Leaders like FTC Chair Khan and Assistant Attorney General Kanter should be held accountable when they disregard advice to recuse themselves and pursue radical ideas that prevent them from doing their jobs – protecting American consumers,” said Chandler Smith Costello, spokeswoman for the Don’t Break What Works campaign. “We look forward to the discussion tomorrow and hope that the House Judiciary Committee will hold at least one of the Biden administration’s top antitrust enforcers accountable for her extreme agenda.” 

The House Judiciary Committee is right to examine the ethical concerns surrounding FTC leadership as well as its extreme agenda that’s threatening to protect competitors from competition and make it tougher for our country to compete with foreign rivals. 

The Hill: The Federal Trade Commission’s embarrassing antitrust crusade

“…Where most see these tech acquisition deals as a simple matter of comparative advantage for companies looking to serve consumers better products at better prices, Lina Khan appears to see only the phantom of Standard Oil magnate John D. Rockefeller. It’s why her agency has adopted a more radical posture around antitrust policy, expanding its view of what constitutes unfair competition in a 2022 policy statement to include Yale-worthy buzzwords ‘exploitative, collusive, abusive’ in its framework for identifying antitrust violations. The vagueness is the point…”

Washington Examiner: Congress should probe Lina Khan’s ethics issues

“…Khan has misled Congress about her adherence to the ethics process on at least one occasion. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) questioned Khan on recusal during her confirmation hearing. Khan said, ‘I would seek the guidance of the relevant ethics officials at the agency and proceed accordingly’ when deciding to recuse herself. Apparently, Khan’s definition of ‘proceeding accordingly’ means completely ignoring the recommendation of a career ethics official if it gets in the way of her agenda…”

FTC Chair Khan isn’t alone in driving the Biden administration’s radical antitrust agenda. Together, her and Assistant Attorney General Kanter’s radical ideas are undermining basic, long-standing principles of antitrust law that were created to cut costs for consumers and small businesses and boost competition. 

RealClearPolicy: Kanter and Khan Antitrust Crusade Riddled with Conflicts of Interest

“…And instead of properly examining and investigating real monopolies, like the hospital monopolies created because of bad government policy, Kanter, a longtime K Street lawyer who previously worked to advance the objectives of billion-dollar corporations, has opted to use DOJ resources to settle old scores, test radical interpretations of antitrust law, and address concerns well beyond the scope of ‘antitrust’ regulation…

“…Despite all of this, Jonathan Kanter has avoided the harsh scrutiny that his embattled FTC counterpart, Lina Khan, has faced. It’s time for that to change. Kanter should be forced to answer for the serious concerns surrounding his leadership at the Department of Justice, and he should face the same criticism that’s been aimed at Lina Khan for pushing a dangerous antitrust agenda that fundamentally fails to protect American consumers.” 

FTC Chair Khan has to answer to Congress just days after a federal judge rejected the FTC’s attempt to block a merger between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. Experts agree the failed case highlights Khan’s flawed approach to antitrust, which is threatening to limit competition and hurt consumers.

The New York Times: What the Microsoft-Activision Ruling Means for the Future of Deal-Making  

“…A federal judge’s decision to let Microsoft close its $70 billion takeover of the video game maker Activision Blizzard didn’t just represent a win for the tech giant. It’s also a major blow to the F.T.C., which had sought to block the transaction.

“That leaves Lina Khan, the agency’s chief and a proponent of more expansive antitrust regulation, confronting a difficult question: Is her strategy of aggressively fighting mergers backfiring and actually encouraging more dealmaking…”

Stratechery: Microsoft Can Acquire Activision, The FTC vs. the Record, The FTC’s Failed Vendetta

…”Here’s the thing: isn’t this a textbook example of competition? The FTC is seeking to preserve a model of competition that was last relevant in the PS2/Xbox generation, but that plane of competition has long since disappeared. The console market as it is today is one that is increasingly boring for consumers, precisely because Sony has won. What is compelling about Microsoft’s approach is that they are making a bet that offering consumers a better deal is the best way to break up Sony’s dominance, and this is somehow a bad thing…”

The Information: The Briefing: FTC’s Khan Should Pick Her Targets More Carefully

“…Lina Khan needs to work on her aim. A judge’s ruling today against the Federal Trade Commission’s request to block Microsoft’s purchase of Activision was so definitive that it has to hurt the regulator’s credibility, at least when it comes to tech cases. Coming immediately after a similar defeat involving Meta Platforms, the ruling suggests that by going after all tech, all the time, Khan is overreaching and risks achieving nothing. The taxpayers whose money she is spending have a right to a more refined approach…”

Clearly, Chair Khan has put the reputation of the FTC at stake in her pursuit of a flawed ideology and disregard for the facts of law. 

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