Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce did not mince words in its latest warning against the business-unfriendly actions of the Federal Trade Commission.
Using words including “war” and “radical departure,” the Chamber has put the FTC on notice that it intends to fight “recent egregious practices that pose a grave threat to American businesses and economic growth.”
There are three specific practices the Chamber has outlined that it is raising formal objections to:
Use of so-called “zombie” voting
The agency claims that secret rules allow a commissioner to cast secret votes before leaving office and then count those votes as needed after his departure (in this case, voting by former Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra.
External influence on decision-making
The Chamber believes much of the FTC’s current agenda is driven by external actors, including the White House, even though Congress created the FTC as an independent agency.
Civil penalty authority
The FTC has resurrected the use of Penalty Offense Authority to go after entire industries. The FTC issued public letters to 1,800 companies warning they’ll face several penalties, side stepping the requirement for analysis on a case-by-case basis. As the Chamber points out, it is an attempt to publicly shame companies and lay groundwork for more substantial future penalties.
“The FTC is waging a war against American businesses, so the U.S. Chamber is fighting back to protect free enterprise, American competitiveness, and economic growth,” said Suzanne P. Clark, the new president and CEO of the US Chamber.
“Today, the Chamber is putting the FTC on notice that we will use every tool at our disposal, including litigation, to stop its abuse of power, to stand up for due process, and to protect the free enterprise system and America’s vibrant economy,” added Clark. “And we will work with policymakers on Capitol Hill to hold the commission accountable.”