The Market Institute Senior Fellow Norm Singleton has a new article in Real Clear Markets recounting the latest events surrounding the House Judiciary Committee’s investigation of Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan.
“Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan recently wrote House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan accusing the Committee of trying to intimidate FTC staff. Jordan has emailed FTC staffers asking that they submit to questions regarding the Committee’s investigation of Khan’s mismanagement of the Commission. Khan says this is inappropriate because many of the staffers have retained counsel to assist them with matters relating to the investigation. However, since most of those targeted are already lawyers themselves, they should be perfectly able to refer the Committee’s message to an attorney.
Khan’s complaints about the Judiciary Committee may be more hypocritical than Hunter Biden questioning the ethics of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their aides. Since she became FTC Chair in 2021, Khan has abused her power dramatically, expanding the FTC’s involvement in private business, demoralizing the FTC staff, and even violating the First Amendment. In the last two years, Khan has filed more cases challenging mergers, acquisitions, and other business practices than any other FTC Chair. Khan has lost many high profile cases, but this has not discouraged her. In fact, she has said that there is value in bringing lawsuits, even when the agency thinks they may lose, as a way to show Congress where they need to strengthen antitrust laws. In other words, Khan views litigation as a form of lobbying.
Bringing numerous lawsuits can also help Khan achieve her goal of limiting mergers and acquisitions. This is because even if a business is confident they will win in court, the costs of litigation may deter them from pursuing otherwise profitable mergers.
This obviously hurts the consumers, workers, and owners, and could impact the pension funds of workers attempting to finance their retirements. It also hurts the entire economy, leaving in place two companies in situations where one would result in a more productivity, economic growth, increased profits for investors, and increased wages for workers.
Khan has been open about her desire to punish certain companies for the “crime” of becoming too big. Most notably, she wants to limit “big tech” companies like Amazon, Meta and Google. Prior to being confirmed as FTC Chair, Khan worked for a public interest legal group and as counsel for the House Judiciary Committee. In both roles, Khan advocated on behalf of the government to stop Meta from buying any smaller companies. These statements are why Meta requested Khan recuse herself from invoking any FTC action against Meta, and why her refusal to do so may have violated federal ethics guidelines.
Under Khan’s leadership, the FTC has also violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the First Amendment. They did this by demanding that Twitter provide the names of all reporters with whom the company discussed the Twitter Files. The Twitter Files refers to the email exchanges between Twitter employees and government officials regarding governmental “requests” that Twitter censer certain topics, individuals, and posts. It is disappointing, but not surprising, that instead of using her position to protect the First Amendment rights of American citizens, Khan is using it to help intimidate those who are attempting to expose how the government is working to turn the internet from a free speech haven to a no unapproved speech zone.”
Read more at Real Clear Markets by clicking here.