Jim Jordan by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

After nearly a year of waiting, the House Judiciary Committee has reached its boiling point with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Following months of stonewalling, the agency continues to duck an April 2023 subpoena concerning its “inappropriate” conduct during a probe into Twitter’s privacy practices. In a scathing letter released on February 14th, Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan slammed FTC Chair Lina Khan for her non-compliance with the investigation, and threatened the agency with contempt of Congress if they continue to evade scrutiny.

To read the full letter, click here.

Chairman Jim Jordan reminded Khan of the committee’s generous timeline for the transfer of subpoenaed documents. However, endless FTC obstructions have rightly caused  the Committee’s patience to wane. In its original April 2023 petition, the Judiciary Committee took issue with “inappropriate and burdensome” FTC demands following the purchase of the platform by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in late 2022. In response, committee officials requested “[a]ll documents and communications between or among Federal Trade Commission (FTC) officials or employees referring or relating to the FTC’s investigations(s) of Twitter, Inc.”

However, after nearly two months of stalling, the FTC failed to produce a single document relating to this original subpoena. In June, Chairman Jordan issued a list of prioritized materials to hasten the transfer process, warning the agency that he would “pursue contempt of Congress if [Khan] failed to comply with the subpoena.”

The result? On September 25th, agency officials released “a single, publicly available document” which was “written for the purpose of defending the FTC in litigation with Twitter.” Adding insult to injury, the FTC later defended its obstructive actions, with Office of Congressional Relations Director Jeanne Bumpus asserting “that the FTC’s actions to date were sufficient to satisfy the subpoena.”

This paltry offering was quickly condemned by Chairman Jordan, who informed the FTC that its “production of a single document is not sufficient to satisfy the terms of the Committee’s subpoena.” Furthermore, he noted that while Khan’s obstruction has “substantially hindered the Committee’s investigation,” House lawmakers now refuse to “tolerate any further delay.” Drawing a line in the sand, the Judiciary Committee has threatened a “resolution holding [Khan] in contempt of Congress” if the FTC does not cooperate.

Americans for Tax Reform applauds the House Judiciary Committee for holding the FTC accountable. Throughout Chair Khan’s tenure, this culture of permissive obstruction has reinforced her agency’s blatant disregard for congressional authority. Without firm oversight, these FTC rebukes will continue to dilute lawmakers’ power to regulate rogue agencies.