Sen. Lee Expresses Concerns about Possible Revocation of FTC 2015 Statement of Section 5 Enforcement Principles

June 24, 2021

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) today issued the following statement in response to an announcement that the Federal Trade Commission will meet to consider rescinding its 2015 Statement of Enforcement Principles Regarding Unfair Methods of Competition Under Section 5 of the FTC Act:

“I am disappointed to see Chairwoman Khan already moving to undo an important, bipartisan antitrust policy agreement. The FTC’s 2015 statement regarding unfair methods of competition received support from all three Democratic commissioners at the time, and marked a long-overdue step forward to clarify the scope of the Commission’s authority and the priority of consumer welfare in the application of the antitrust laws. Should the FTC rescind the statement, it will replace clarity with ambiguity in the midst of a fragile economic recovery. Rescinding the statement would also signal that the Commission rejects the idea that there are any limits to its power or regulatory reach, and that it intends to use Section 5 to address non-economic harms outside the agency’s purview or expertise.

“As I have noted many times, there is bipartisan interest in reforming antitrust law and combating anticompetitive monopolies. That bipartisan interest should result in bipartisan solutions. Revoking the bipartisan Section 5 Statement would undermine that effort, and potentially lead to antitrust enforcement that is divorced from the interests of consumers.

“I am also worried that this is just the beginning of a troubling trend of partisan antitrust enforcement under the Biden administration. This worry was exacerbated when President Biden nominated Ms. Khan to be a commissioner and withheld his intention to immediately name her as Chairwoman. This was undoubtedly an attempt to evade the greater scrutiny and vetting that comes with the confirmation process for the Chair of a Commission, as opposed to an individual commissioner. It is ironic that this kind of deception was used to install leadership at the federal agency tasked with fighting deception and fraud.

“I remain committed to protecting consumers and competition, and to doing so on a bipartisan basis. I hope the Biden Administration will correct course and join that effort.”