FTC Under Investigation by Committee on Oversight and Accountability for Alleged Abuse of Power and Consumer Protection Neglect

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is under investigation by the Committee on Oversight and Accountability following Commissioner Christine S. Wilson‘s unexpected resignation announcement. In her resignation letter, Commissioner Wilson expressed deep concerns over the current Chair Lina M. Khan‘s leadership, accusing the Commission of abusing its power, disregarding the rule of law, due process, and federal ethics laws.

One of the key issues raised by Commissioner Wilson is Chair Khan’s refusal to recuse herself from the review of Meta’s proposed merger with Within Unlimited. Despite Khan’s prior public statements opposing any merger involving Meta, she chose not to step aside from the decision-making process. Commissioner Wilson, the Commission’s sole Republican commissioner, criticized this refusal, citing concerns about due process and federal ethics.

Commissioner Wilson further revealed that her dissenting opinion on the matter was heavily redacted by her Democrat co-commissioners, preventing the public from accessing the details. According to Wilson, these redactions seemed to serve the purpose of protecting Chair Khan from embarrassment.

In addition to the Meta-Within merger controversy, Commissioner Wilson highlighted three other concerns. These included the Commission’s controversial antitrust enforcement policy statement, which seemingly disregarded long-standing court rulings, and the launch of a rulemaking process to ban almost all non-compete clauses in employee contracts, contradicting recent Supreme Court precedent. Wilson also criticized the Commission’s misuse of the merger review process to hinder mergers without sufficient consideration of competition-related factors.

The allegations raise questions about whether the FTC, under Chair Khan’s leadership, has become a rogue agency. Critics argue that Khan’s initial drive to “bulldoze” procedural safeguards, consolidate agency power, unilaterally expand regulatory authority, and abandon bipartisan and open processes further exacerbates concerns.

The investigation also seeks to determine if White House influence played a role, as President Biden had appointed Chair Khan to play a leading role in implementing his Executive Order on “Promoting Competition in the American Economy.”

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 21: FTC Commissioner nominee Lina M. Khan testifies during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee nomination hearing on April 21, 2021, in Washington, DC. Nelson was a senator representing Florida from 2001-2019. (Photo by Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images)

Former commissioners and experts have echoed Commissioner Wilson’s concerns. Former commissioner Joshua D. Wright accused the Commission of routinely abusing merger review processes and causing unnecessary delays and uncertainty for merging parties.

Professor Richard J. Pierce from George Washington University Law School pointed to recent research indicating a lack of adherence to established guidelines and a significant level of uncertainty within the Commission’s actions. Bilal Sayyed, former director of the Commission’s Office of Policy Planning, also emphasized the increasing uncertainty surrounding the Commission’s merger policies.

The Committee on Oversight and Accountability has requested the FTC to provide various documents and information to shed light on Commissioner Wilson’s allegations and investigate the extent to which the Commission may have deviated from its consumer protection mission.

The requested documents include unredacted copies of dissenting opinions, communications regarding recusals, discussions on policy inconsistencies, impacts on merging parties, and White House involvement.

The outcome of the investigation will determine whether the FTC has compromised its ability to effectively protect American consumers and maintain the integrity of the marketplace. As the principal oversight committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability has the authority to investigate any matter at any time, ensuring transparency and accountability in government institutions.


Abdullah Amin

Abdullah is passionate about staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the gaming industry. With a strong background in writing and research, he is able to provide in-depth analysis and informative articles for a wide range of gaming audiences.
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