Factsheet: Strengthening Democracy at the FTC

December 22, 2021 Anti-Monopoly Policies & Enforcement

In a letter to Federal Trade Commission staff, Chair Lina Khan laid out a vision to “further democratize the agency” by “recognizing the agency as a public body whose work shapes the distribution of power and opportunity across our economy.” In 2021, Chair Khan ushered in this new era of democratization and consensus-building by: 

Unanimous and Bipartisan Votes for a Fair Economy 

Chair Khan also worked to deliver multiple high-profile unanimous votes, with commissioners across the political spectrum agreeing on some of the biggest issues in front of the FTC this year, including:

  • Unanimous vote to block a $40 billion semiconductor chip merger.
  • Unanimous vote to restore the Right to Repair.
  • Unanimous vote to order large retailers including Walmart and Amazon to provide information related to ongoing supply chain disruptions. 
  • Unanimous vote to shut down “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli’s illegal drug pricing scheme and return up to $40 million to patients.
  • Unanimous vote to put more than 1,000 businesses, including Amazon, Doordash, and Grubhub, on notice for deceptive marketing to gig workers.
  • Unanimous vote to put more than 700 companies on notice, including Facebook, Google, and Amazon, for fake online reviews and deceptive endorsements.
  • Unanimous vote to commence a rulemaking to combat government and business impersonation fraud.
  • 3-to-1 bipartisan vote to put companies on notice that “click to subscribe, call to cancel” tactics will invite legal action to prevent consumer abuse.
  • Unanimous vote on the 2022 FTC budget, 2021 Performance Plan and 2020 Performance Report

Restoring Open Commission Meetings with Public Speakers 

This year, Chair Khan held the first open commission meetings in decades. With a mission to ensure the FTC is in tune with the real problems Americans face in their daily lives, the FTC not only publicly aired deliberations, but also invited the public to provide live comment in commission meetings.  

Dozens of everyday Americans spoke directly to commissioners and the public about issues facing consumers, workers and independent businesses, including: 

  • July 1, 2021: Open Commission Meeting on Made in the USA Enforcement
  • July 21, 2021: Open Commission Meeting on Right to Repair and Merger Prior Approval Rules
  • September 15, 2021: Open Commission Meeting on Vertical Merger Guidelines and Health App Privacy Breaches
  • October 21, 2021: Open Commission Meeting on Major Internet Service Providers Privacy Practices
  • November 18, 2021: Open Commission Meeting on Supply Chain Disruptions
  • December 16, 2021: Open Commission Meeting on Combating Government Impersonation Fraud