NTU Statement on FTC Chair Nomination

Today President Trump announced his nomination for FTC Chair, NTU President Pete Sepp had this to say, “Amid reports that the White House has finalized its nominees for Chairman and two other commissioners at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), National Taxpayers Union (NTU) today urged the Senate to avoid political gimmicks and proceed with timely and thoughtful confirmation hearings once the slate has been formally submitted.

In response to the breaking news, NTU President Pete Sepp stated, “Joseph Simons has a strong history with FTC and background in the private sector which, with the cooperation of other nominees, could help to usher in vital reforms to antitrust and competition issues that will better serve taxpayers as well as consumers. This is an excellent opportunity for the FTC and Congress to establish a new policy foundation committed to enforcement on issues that matter to consumers, more vigorous cost-benefit analysis, clearer limits on government powers, and greater emphasis on avoiding harm to innovation."

In a recent letter to the Administration regarding the future direction of the FTC and competition policy, NTU outlined several points of emphasis, including: adherence to the time-tested “consumer welfare standard” in antitrust, commitment to data-driven cost-benefit analysis, focus on actual harm rather than a “precautionary principle,” and recognition that excessive government regulation can impede innovation. Of additional importance to NTU is clarifying limits on FTC’s powers under Section 5 of the FTC Act, and curbing the often arbitrary use of FTC consent decrees. Such decrees bind innovative companies to substantially alter business practices, receive large fines, or draw onto them onerous compliance regimes.

NTU has been deeply involved in FTC competition issues for nearly 20 years, because taxpayers have long benefited from regulatory policies that are predictable, rational, limited in scope, and conducive to marketplace innovation. When government follows such a path, advancements in technology, like the internet and telecommunications, can revolutionize the way that public services are delivered, often at a lower cost and in a more efficient manner."

Further details on NTU’s reform plan for the FTC and competition policy are available in an NTU policy paper, FTC: A Three-Letter Way to Spell “Nanny”?