Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Christine Wilson’s February 7, 2023, statement accompanying the Fiscal Year 2021 Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) Annual Report chastised the other three Commissioners for requesting more review time and funding. (The other Commissioners’ accompanying statement included a continuing request for Congress to revise the timelines imposed by the HSR Act and to increase FTC funding.)
Commissioner Wilson responded to both requests. In response to the timeline request, Commissioner Wilson said that “[f]or decades the timelines did not create problems for the agencies. Parties routinely entered timing agreements with staff that provided adequate time for investigations. But, early in the current administration, the Commission flouted a negotiated timing agreement after the parties voluntarily extended the review period several times. . . . These actions create an environment in which merging parties rationally choose to shift away from the historical approach and instead keep the FTC on the statutory clock and save arguments for trial.”
It is perhaps not surprising then that on February 14, 2023, in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Commissioner Wilson announced her intent to resign from the FTC. Her resignation notice took particular aim at Chair Lina Khan, stating that “[m]y fundamental concern with her leadership of the commission pertains to her willful disregard of congressionally imposed limits on agency jurisdiction, her defiance of legal precedent, and her abuse of power to achieve desired outcomes.” It is not yet clear when Commissioner Wilson’s resignation will be effective or when her replacement will be appointed.
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For additional information about the issues discussed above, or if you have any other antitrust concerns, please contact the Epstein Becker Green attorney who regularly handles your legal matters, or one of the authors of this Antitrust Byte:
|E. John Steren|
Member of the Firm
General Counsel / Chief Privacy Officer