Christine Wilson, Sole Republican FTC Commissioner, Will Step Down

Christine Wilson, Sole Republican FTC Commissioner, Will Step Down

Christine Wilson, Sole Republican FTC Commissioner, Will Step Down

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WASHINGTON — Christine Wilson, the only Republican commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission, said Tuesday she would resign soon and slammed Lina Khan, the agency’s Democratic chairwoman, accusing her of “abuse of power.”


Ms Wilson, who announced her decision in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, has consistently criticized Ms Khan’s leadership. Ms. Khan, who became FTC chairwoman in June 2021, immediately set out to aggressively transform the agency into a bulwark against tech mergers and monopolies and a more powerful regulator of online privacy.

Ms Wilson and another Republican former FTC member, Noah Phillips, who resigned in October, have repeatedly raised concerns that Ms Khan’s ambitions go beyond the legal authority of the agency, which enforces the consumer protection and competition laws.

In particular, Ms. Wilson criticized a lawsuit the FTC filed in July to block Meta’s merger with virtual reality app maker, Within, as well as a decision last month to bar covenants. “non-competition” in employment contracts that limit employee options. while locking in the power of corporations to retain workers.

Ms. Wilson is a longtime antitrust attorney and was appointed to the FTC by President Donald J. Trump in 2018. The FTC has five commissioners.

“My fundamental concern about his leadership of the commission is his willful disregard for congressional limits on the agency’s jurisdiction, his disregard for legal precedent, and his abuse of power to achieve the desired results,” Wilson wrote at About Mrs. Khan.

Ms. Khan said in a joint statement with two Democratic FTC Commissioners, Rebecca Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya, “While we often disagree with Commissioner Wilson, we respect her dedication to her beliefs and are grateful for her public service. “

Ms. Wilson’s departure is expected to put greater political pressure on the agency, which Republican lawmakers and businesses have criticized for being too tough on business. Congress controls agency budgets and can threaten to restrict the powers of the FTC through its funding power. He can also call Ms Khan to appear in public oversight hearings.

Ms Khan defended her actions, saying the agency’s permissive approach to mergers over decades had allowed companies like Google, Meta and Amazon to bloat in size and eat away at competition. She pushed the agency to take on riskier cases that she might not even win.

President Biden appointed Ms Khan to head the FTC as part of a group of progressive antitrust reformers that included Tim Wu in the White House and Jonathan Kanter, the antitrust chief at the Justice Department. Ms Khan is overseeing the lawsuits against Meta and a lawsuit to block Microsoft’s merger with Activision.

Ms Khan, 33, shot to fame in 2017 when she published an article in the Yale Law Journal on Amazon, challenging decades-old views about illegal monopolization and how antitrust laws were applied to businesses technologies. She continued to garner attention with her participation in a Congressional report in 2020 that called for the breakup of tech monopolies.

Ms Wilson and companies like Meta and Amazon have asked Ms Khan to recuse herself from investigations and cases involving them. They said given Ms Khan’s early opinions of the companies, she could not fairly assess cases involving them. Ms. Khan has not backed out of cases involving Meta and other tech companies.

Ms. Wilson has not announced a date for her departure.


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