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US House Panel To Question FTC Chair Next Month

 |  June 24, 2023

Lina Khan, the Chair of the US Federal Trade Commission, is scheduled to give testimony on July 13th before the House Judiciary Committee. The committee and commission have confirmed this, and it should be noted that Republicans have expressed criticism towards her leadership of the antitrust enforcement agency.

According to Reuters, it will be her first appearance before the committee since Republicans took control. The FTC’s privacy investigation into Twitter has been criticized by Republicans, particularly since it was acquired by Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of Tesla.

The FTC announced in March that it was investigating Twitter’s privacy practices and expressed concerns over the company’s ability to comply with a settlement agreement made in May 2022 to enhance its privacy practices.

The committee issued a subpoena to Khan in April for documents related to the Twitter privacy investigation after Musk’s acquisition of the company in October, according to Reuters.

Related: FTC Subpoenaed By US House Panel Over Twitter Probe

On June 8, House Judiciary Committee chair Jim Jordan wrote a letter stating that the FTC had a one-year gap in their actions regarding Twitter and suggested that neither the prior chair nor Khan had planned on taking action against Twitter until political pressure arose due Mr. Musk’s acquisition.

Jordan expressed concerns in February regarding the FTC’s proposal to prohibit noncompete clauses for employees and its handling of the Illumina and Grail merger.

Illumina, a company based in San Diego that focuses on gene sequencing, is appealing a ruling by the FTC that stated its acquisition of Grail for $7.1 billion would limit competition in the cancer testing industry. Illumina has refuted the accusations.

Currently, the FTC has three Democratic commissioners following the resignation of Christine Wilson in March, despite typically having five commissions including two from the minority party.

Khan, an antitrust researcher with a specific focus on the vast market power of Big Tech, has pledged to revitalize antitrust enforcement since becoming chair of the FTC in June 2021.

The FTC has filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com. It alleges that the company enrolled millions of consumers in Amazon Prime without their consent, and made it difficult for them to cancel.