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FTC Chair's Activism Prompts a Commissioner to Resign

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Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan has ruffled more than a few feathers since taking the Commission’s helm. Not only has Khan outlined an aggressive policy agenda, she has also sought to exapnd the Commission’s power and centralize control of the agency within her office, prompting Professor Richard Pierce to predict her term would be a “rollercoaster ride.

Khan’s aggressive, progressive agenda has provoked strong opposition from portions of the business community. The FTC’s move to eliminate the use of non-compete agreements has been labeled a “breathtaking power grab” and will provoke a serious legal challenge. Another case against Wal-Mart prompted the giant retailer to question the vitality of Humphrey’s Executor and challenge the FTC’s constitutionality.

Khan’s agenda has also prompted discomfort within the FTC, and is apparently prompting one commissioner–Christine Wilson–to tender her resignation. Wilson writes in the Wall Street Journal:

That a Republican FTC Commissioner objects to Khan’s agenda might not surprise. That Khan’s leadership approach has also prompted dissension within the FTC’s career ranks, on the other hand, may be more surprising.

From Wilson’s WSJ op-ed:

That Khan’s leadership style ruffles feathers or departs from precedent does not mean (necessarily) mean that she’s doing anything wrong, nor does it mean that her policy initiatives won’t survive legal challenge. On the other hand, the sorts of objections being made could be the sorts that could prompt judicial concern or suggest the sort of failure to engage in reasoned decisionmaking that often leads agencies to defeat in court.

UPDATE: Former FTC Commissioner Joshua Wright has an insightful Twitter thread on what Wilson’s resignation could mean for the FTC going forward.

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