New F.T.C. Majority Gives Lina Khan a Chance to Push an Aggressive Agenda

WASHINGTON – A third Democrat’s confirmation to the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday broke the partisan stalemate in the agency. That’s good news for agency chairman and Democrat Leena Khan.

It is also a test.

With the FTC’s new Democratic majority – which has been in the slot vacated since October – confirmed Alvaro Bedoya, who will become the fifth commissioner, Ms. Khan’s allies and critics are watching to see if she pursues plans to address corporate power. This could include filing a no-confidence motion against Amazon, setting online privacy rules and tapping the powers of the lesser-used agency to clip the wings of companies like Meta, Apple and Google.

With Congress in turmoil and midterm elections looming, agencies like the FTC and the Department of Justice are the best hope for activists and policymakers who want the government to control corporate power. President Biden, who has promised to crack down, last year ordered the FTC and other federal agencies to take steps to limit concentration.

Under Ms. Khan, 33, who became chairman in June, said the FTC had already tried to close the merger and had threatened to challenge the deal once it closed. The commission said it would punish companies that make it difficult for users to repair their products. And he settled a case on a diet app with a company called Weight Watchers, which collected data from young children.

But Ms. Former FTC chairman William E. Kovacic said “Khan’s new democratic majority is needed to realize his vision.”

In a statement, Ms. Khan said he was “excited” to work with Mr. Bedoya and other commissioners. She did not address how the new majority of the FTC would affect her plans.

An earlier split in the FTC between two Republicans and two Democrats led to a stalemate. In February, the commission could not reach an agreement to move forward with the study of the practice of pharmacy benefit managers.

Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, a progressive group seeking more no-confidence motions, described two FTC Republicans, Noah Phillips and Christine Wilson, as “liberal holdouts” who “threw a kind of break” on Ms. Khan’s ability to advance his agenda.

Mr. Phillips said in an email that he supported the commission’s “long tradition of bilateral work to advance the interests of American consumers.” But he will not support Ms. When Khan’s agenda “exceeds our legal authority,” prices rise for consumers or harm innovation, he said.

Ms. Wills drew attention to three speeches she gave to Ms. last year. Khan’s philosophy. In a speech last month, Ms. Wilson said Khan and his associates were drawing on the principles of Marxism.

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democratic majority leader, said in a statement that the United States had “confirmed” the vote on Wednesday. Bedoya was “crucial in overcoming the FTC”

Khan may now have the ability to sue Amazon. She wrote a student law review in 2017 criticizing the company’s dominance. The FTC began investigating retail giants under the Trump administration; Some state attorney generals have also conducted inquiries into the company.

Ms. Khan may sue to challenge Amazon’s movie studio Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer’s recent purchase. When the 8.5 billion transaction closed in March, a FTC spokesman noted that the agency could “challenge the deal at any time if it decides it violates the law.”

Ms. Khan may put his stamp on other deals. The agency is investigating a $ 70 billion purchase of Microsoft video game publisher Activision Blizzard and has sent requests to companies this year for additional information.

An executive order from Mr. Biden last year pushed for a more aggressive no-confidence policy, forcing the FTC and the Department of Justice to update the guidelines they used to approve the deal, which could lead to tougher scrutiny. Ms. Khan is likely to need the support of two other Democrats on the commission. Bedoya and Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, approving new guidelines or challenging large aggressive mergers.

Ms. Khan also said he wanted to bulk up the agency’s powers by considering the rules and algorithms that govern privacy and how decisions are made. She said the FTC has underestimated its role as a rules-making body and that the rules would increase its mandate to protect consumers.

“Given that our economy will only continue to digitize, market-wide rules can help provide clear notification and render enforcement more efficient and effective,” she said at a privacy conference last month.

The FTC may also act on requests from progressive worker groups seeking to ban agency data-based advertising business models and prohibit non-competitive agreements that prevent workers from hiring with their current employer’s competitors.

But former FTC officials said Ms. Despite having a Democratic majority, Khan faced challenges. Daniel Kaufman, the agency’s former deputy head of the Consumer Protection Bureau, said it could take years for privacy rules to be drafted. Businesses are likely to challenge in court rules that do not comply with the FTC’s mandate to protect consumers from deceptive and inappropriate practices.

Said Kaufman, a partner at Mr. Law firm Bakerhosteller.

Ms. Khan’s efforts are also sure to continue to face Shri’s opposition. Phillips and Ms. Wilson. Mr. Phillips said he has reservations about the agency becoming a more muscular regulator. In January, he said Congress, not the FTC, should be the one to create new privacy rules.

Ms. Wills recently posted screenshots of an internal survey showing that satisfaction among the FTC’s career staff has declined. “The new leadership has marginalized and disrespected staff, resulting in a reduction in the brain that will take a generation to repair,” she said.

To overcome their opposition, Ms. Khan will have to retain his majority. It benefits Shri. Bedoya, a privacy expert who has focused on the civil rights risks of new technologies, and Ms. Slaughter, a former top member of Senator Schumer’s staff.

Ms. Slaughter said in a statement that Mr. Bedoya’s privacy expertise will serve the FTC well. She did not comment on the agency’s Democratic majority.

Mr. Bedoya spoke out against his own plans, saying only that he was “excited” to work with his new FTC colleagues.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.