During last week’s eye-opening Senate oversight hearing, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan claimed to legislators that her agency lacks sufficient resources to carry out the FTC’s mission. However, at the same hearing, legislators took Chair Khan to task for her mismanagement of the resources she’s already been given—wasting time and money on frivolous lawsuits against companies she simply dislikes, very much outside the scope of the FTC’s duties. Considering the wildly irresponsible way that Khan has utilized agency resources thus far, one must express skepticism over her request to have more taxpayer dollars at her disposal.
Take, for instance, the proposed acquisition by Meta to acquire virtual-reality fitness game creator, Within. Khan overruled her staff and proceeded to block the deal even though there is plenty of competition in the VR marketplace. As Sen. Mike Lee noted during the hearing, while past acquisitions relied on a narrow market definition that intentionally ignores “incidental overlapping,” the FTC used the opposite rationale for blocking the Within acquisition, essentially arguing that Meta’s “incidental overlapping” in the VR space made them a monopolistic risk in the VR fitness app market. This aggressive approach from Khan breaks long standing norms at the FTC and puts her at odds with her own staff.
It’s therefore no wonder that since Khan took over as FTC chair, polling data shows a 34 percent drop in FTC workers’ confidence in their senior leaders, respect for them and motivation at work. It also provides an explanation for why an unprecedented number of senior FTC staffers have left the agency since the start of Khan’s tenure. Khan’s dismissive treatment of her staff have caused her to lose some of her most talented assets at the agency.
The latest example is highlighted in a letter obtained by reporter Christopher Hutton at the Washington Examiner, which was signed by former FTC staff members. According to Hutton, the signatories of the letter said:
“The agency seems to be moving away from some of these norms and…these changes may undermine the agency’s credibility to enforce the law and to protect consumers. In the worst case, with ongoing scrutiny of administrative agencies, a departure from these norms could imperil long-term support for the agency itself.”
Under Khan’s leadership, there is serious concern about whether the FTC will be compliant with constitutional standards.
Khan asking for more money while launching frivolous lawsuits is like going to the mall, maxing out your credit cards and then asking your parents to bail you out. And Progressives in Congress are willing to indulge her by trying to pass H.R. 3460, a bill that would funnel millions of additional dollars her way. This is happening while Khan is using vast funds and resources to try to win cases, despite not having a crucial ally on her side: the law. Her politically motivated quest to fulfill her progressive desire to destroy successful businesses for their “crime” of being too big has only just begun. Congress would be wise to reject her pleas.
Khan should not receive any more funds until her leadership stops being defined by her pursuit of impossible missions and her irresponsible treatment of staffers.