ICYMI: Lina Khan Running FTC With Concerning Level of Control   

Washington, D.C. (2/28/2024) – A recent editorial from The Wall Street Journal editorial board details how Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan is running the agency without regard for the expertise or experience of her staff – many of whom are experts in the field. 

The editorial dives into the manner in which controversial FTC Chair Khan has been operating her agency. The FTC has historically been able to operate without being too deeply affected by changes in administration due to its bipartisan commission, but in this piece, it is clear that is not the case with Chair Khan at the helm. One senior staffer expressed concern that “outside influences” play a large role in the agency’s actions warning that the FTC “should never make an enforcement-related decision for the sake of PR.” 

Key excerpts outlining Chair Khan’s unprecedented, unilateral style of governing at the FTC can be found below. 

“Ms. Khan’s behavior is related to her self-described mission to overturn decades of FTC practice and law. Toward that end she’s centralized power in an inner circle of her appointees to rewrite the modern consumer-welfare antitrust standard… 

“…It’s important to understand how unusual this is. Agencies like the FTC weren’t established to be part of an Administration like, say, the Energy Department. They are supposed to be independent, and as such have commissioners of both parties…

“…The FTC in particular has been known for its competent staff under chairmen of either party. Jon Leibowitz was chairman under Barack Obama and Tim Muris under George W. Bush, and they had different priorities. But they both followed modern antitrust law and relied on expert staff. Ms. Khan has turned all that on its head as she pursues her antitrust revolution, as internal emails show…”

The Wall Street Journal piece is just one of many recent accounts of Lina Khan’s failure to manage her agency effectively. Recently, Fortune published a piece from its CEO echoing a similar sentiment about Chair Khan’s FTC. He writes, “[u]nder Chair Lina Khan the agency has not only been captured by an ideological agenda, but also plagued by classic mismanagement.”  

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