The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has accused Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan of overstepping her agency’s authority.
As The Wall Street Journal reported Friday (Nov. 19), the Chamber sent three letters to the FTC claiming the agency made possible breaches of administrative procedure that could be subject to court challenges.
In addition, the Chamber plans to file more than 30 Freedom of Information Act requests with the FTC, looking for documents that could include Khan and her staff’s personal communications. The Journal notes that these actions represent what the Chamber says are a rare public challenge to a regulatory agency.
“It feels to the business community that the FTC has gone to war against us, and we have to go to war back,” Suzanne Clark, the chamber’s president and chief executive, told the Journal.
“The FTC just announced we are ramping up efforts to combat corporate crime, and now the Chamber declares ‘war’ on the agency,” FTC spokesperson Peter Kaplan told Reuters, referring to an announcement earlier this week.
“We are not going to back down because corporate lobbyists are making threats. We will continue to do our job and stand up for consumers, honest businesses, workers and entrepreneurs who deserve a fair marketplace,” Kaplan said.
One of the letters sent by the Chamber criticizes a pair of warnings the FTC recently sent to some 1,800 business owners about using fake reviews or making false advertisements. The second deals with what the Chamber says is a procedural violation tied to a new FTC policy designed to stave off legally questionable mergers.
The last letter says that the newly formed Competition Council could face court action, because its policies would not be based on an expert agency’s “reasoned decision making.”
This isn’t the first time a business giant has gone after Khan, who took her post earlier this year. Both Facebook and Amazon have asked her to recuse herself in antitrust cases involving the big tech companies due to her history of criticizing them.
The FTC ultimately dismissed Facebook’s petition and has not yet acted on Amazon’s request.