Chamber of Commerce rallies against Democratic FTC’s crackdown on violators for the first time

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Chamber of Commerce pushes Senate to remove parts of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill that would give the Democratic-led Federal Trade Commission more civil sanction powers it says would hurt businesses and consumers .

Certain provisions of Biden’s $ 2.4 trillion spending bill “would create an unprecedented and unjustified broad civil sanction authority” for the FTC Section 5 commission, the chamber wrote in a statement. letter to senators Thursday.

The authority would give the FTC the ability to impose costly fines, up to approximately $ 44,000 per violation and per affected consumer, for alleged violations of the FTC Act, which prohibits unfair cases of anti-competitive or monopolistic behavior. Liberals say FTC needs the power to impose civil penalties for the first time, as current law limits financial penalties to companies that are already under a consent order or have gone through a lengthy process administrative – meaning first-time offenders can get away with a slap on the wrist.

“This would constitute a major policy change in the FTC’s enforcement authority that would unfairly erode due process and impose significant new costs on businesses acting in good faith when serving consumers,” the chamber wrote in the. letter, which was signed by 90 others, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the National Restaurant Association and the NetChoice technology association.

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The chamber said the new FTC authority could create a chilling effect on industry innovation in goods and services, especially among small businesses that lack the resources to fight such fines. .

The chamber, which is the largest lobbying group in the United States and represents millions of businesses and organizations, said the authority could cost businesses and consumers billions of dollars, far exceeding the gains. revenue from the relevant provisions of the Build Back Better Act that are being projected by the FTC and the Congressional Budget Office.

In July, Democrats on the Trade Committee voted to expand the agency’s limits and powers, especially when it comes to controlling the conduct of businesses.

FTC Democrats said at the time the agency needed to do a better job of complying with statutory obligations given to it by Congress to end monopoly behavior and challenge anti-competitive behavior.

Over the past several decades, antitrust laws have focused on protecting consumers from mergers and anti-competitive business practices, and the agency’s two Republican commissioners have said the agency’s expanded powers could push it away. commission this consumer-driven tradition and drive it beyond its limits.

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The chamber also announced Thursday that it will launch a six-figure advertising campaign to highlight recent FTC wrongdoing.


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