Lee Leads Letter Addressing Conflicts of Interest at the FTC

September 14, 2022

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), joined by Sens. Grassley, Blackburn, Tillis, Cotton, Lummis, Cruz, and Scott, sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan expressing concerns over the agency’s use of unpaid consultants. Earlier that month an FTC Inspector General report found that the FTC, despite making wide use of unpaid consultants, lacked any organized policy or procedures to prevent “unpaid consultants and experts involvement in inherently governmental functions.” The letter asked the FTC to respond to a series of questions to assist Congress in its oversight of the agency. Chairwoman Khan responded on September 9th.

The FTC’s responses and supporting materials revealed that five of its unpaid consultants are current or former employees of the AI Now Institute, a nonprofit funded by progressive philanthropy organizations like the Omidyar Network, Ford Foundation, and MacArthur foundation. In addition, three of FTC’s unpaid consultants are concurrently working for tech companies that compete with companies subject to FTC jurisdiction.

Of the response, Sen. Lee said, “These are inexcusable conflicts of interest, and call for vigorous congressional oversight,” Sen. Lee continued, “We cannot surrender our antitrust enforcement policy to far-left activists. I look forward to addressing these concerns with Chairwoman Khan next week.”