Lina M. Khan by Brookings Institution

The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability is launching a probe into the rampant politicization of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) by Chair Lina Khan and the Biden administration. In a new letter, Oversight Chairman James Comer (R-KY) has taken interest in a recently announced “Strike Force” between the FTC and the Department of Justice (DOJ), which aims to “crack down on unfair and illegal pricing.”

Click here to read the full letter

Coming during an election year, House lawmakers have accused the Biden administration of posturing the FTC for political gain, rather than serving the interests of American consumers. Americans for Tax Reforms applauds the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability for challenging the Biden administration’s weaponization of the FTC for cheap political whims.

On April 16th, Chairman Comer contacted FTC Chair Lina Khan to express his concern over the FTC-DOJ strike force, arguing that the alliance “represents further politicization of your agency, will lead to abuse of the FTC’s authorities in more markets, and places DOJ’s enforcement of its antitrust authorities at greater risk of politicization.” Under Khan’s leadership, the FTC has exercised a controversial litigation strategy that many lawmakers rightly oppose for its ideological bias. As Chairman Comer noted, “political considerations play an outsized role in the FTC’s review of mergers” in the oil, gas and grocery industries. Luckily, this partiality has been met with a stern warning from House lawmakers that “legal challenges should be guided by the merits of proposed transactions and the law.”

As Chairman Comer alleges, throughout the Biden administration, the FTC has preyed upon American businesses that are simply responding to the consequences of failing Democrat policies. For instance, “after President Biden blames an industry for increased prices caused by his own inflationary policies, the FTC launches investigations into players in that industry.” This paradox has unsurprisingly drawn the ire of House lawmakers. For this reason, Chairman Comer has theorized that the FTC-DOJ strike force will similarly be used as a “political tool that could have serious, negative repercussions for American businesses, workers, and consumers.”

With the 2024 presidential election on the horizon, Chairman Comer has argued that the FTC-DOJ strike force will inevitably be used to curry favor with Biden supporters. Nevertheless, this has not stopped House lawmakers from demanding transparency from the Biden administration. In its probe, Oversight officials have demanded a trove of communication records between the FTC, DOJ and the White House.

These requests concern both the FTC-DOJ strike force, and a collection of earlier investigations on mergers in the energy and grocery sector. As Chairman Comer has argued, the FTC “already demonstrated that it is willing to sacrifice American jobs to achieve ideological and political goals.” Unless the FTC-DOJ strike force is thoroughly vetted, House lawmakers fear that influential executive agencies will be further degraded for cheap political gain.

In the midst of an election year, FTC Chair Lina Khan has been warned that using the FTC “as a tool in a political witch hunt against U.S. businesses would be a shocking misuse of the agency’s power.” Nevertheless, House lawmakers must continue to be vigilant in their demands for transparency within the FTC and DOJ. Americans for Tax Reform applauds the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability for protecting American businesses and consumers from the politicization of executive agencies.