House Republican panel wants to interview FTC staff in probe of Chair Lina Khan

Lina Khan, chair of the Federal Trade Commission, speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, July 13, 2023. MUST CREDIT: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Feb. 13, 2024 (Bloomberg) — House Republicans are demanding transcribed interviews with five senior US Federal Trade Commission officials, doubling down on probes into Chair Lina Khan.

In a letter to Khan dated Monday, (Feb. 12) the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability said it needed the interviews as part of an investigation into whether the FTC has disregarded the law by undertaking new rulemakings and blocking deals in conjunction with international antitrust enforcers.

“The Commission should be working to ensure what is best for consumers is achieved, not intervening on behalf of favored competitors or pursuing ideological goals,” wrote panel chair Representative James Comer, a Kentucky Republican.

The letter seeks recorded interviews with the heads of the FTC’s three major units focused on economics, consumer protection and competition, as well as a top staffer on international affairs and the agency’s executive director, who manages the budget, IT and human resources issues.

Comer’s panel, alongside the House Judiciary Committee, has repeatedly targeted Khan in investigations, accusing her of overstepping her power as head of the agency.

Khan and her allies say she is reawakening the agency’s long-dormant authority to curb harmful and exploitative business practices across the US economy. During her time at the helm of the FTC, Khan has pursued expansive efforts to ban non-compete agreements, challenge mergers, and crack down on companies that violate user privacy.

Earlier: Alphabet, Amazon, Microsoft Face FTC Inquiry on AI Partners

Last year, the Oversight panel demanded communications between the FTC and European regulators after both blocked Illumina Inc.’s $7 billion acquisition of cancer-test provider Grail, citing concerns the combination would hurt competition. It has also accused the agency of releasing confidential information about Amgen Inc. and Horizon Therapeutics Plc and launched a probe into a rulemaking on auto dealer practices.

Comer’s panel has been among the most aggressive in targeting the Biden administration. The committee is formally investigating whether to impeach President Joe Biden over his family’s business dealings. The panel has also held a number of hearings into US-Mexico border policies, though it wasn’t behind the recent unsuccessful effort to impeach Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.



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