The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently provided testimony to the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government concerning its fiscal year (FY) 2024 budget request.
The FTC requested a budget of $590 million for FY 2024, representing a 37 percent increase over FY 2023. The agency proposed using its requested $160 million increase in funding to, among other things, expand its current staffing level of approximately 1,230 full-time employees to 1,690 by the end of FY 2024. Additionally, the agency noted that its requested budget would allow it to build in-house expertise and fund additional expert witnesses for use in litigation, “particularly in cases against large, well-financed defendants.”
In support of its proposed budget, the FTC argued that its request represented a good investment. The agency pointed out that during FY 2022, it returned $497 million to consumers and the U.S. Treasury General Fund. A footnote to the prepared testimony acknowledges that of that $497 million, $325 million came from redress payments and recognized that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision invalidating the FTC’s ability to obtain monetary relief for consumers would make it unlikely that such returns would occur in the future. Moreover, that same year, the agency argued that it saved consumers an estimated $4.1 billion through its competition law enforcement actions and consumer protection law enforcement actions. The FTC suggested that every $1 it spent returned an estimated $30 in benefits to consumers.
While it is unclear how much funding the FTC will ultimately receive through the appropriations process, it is clear that the agency desires to push ahead with its enforcement priorities and expand those activities in the future. Affirmative compliance activities likely remain the best defense against the FTC’s increasing enforcement efforts.
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