Senate Republicans fire warning shot at FTC as Google decision looms

Source: Hill, The
Author: Brendan Sasso
Coverage Type: reporting
Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20580, United States

Ten Republican senators led by Jim DeMint (R-SC) warned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) not to stretch its regulatory powers. The letter to FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz does not explicitly mention Google, but amounts to a clear warning to tread carefully as the agency considers whether to sue the Web giant over alleged antitrust violations.

"In the interest of providing more regulatory certainty for American consumers and job creators, we urge the Federal Trade Commission to act with humility and restrain itself to activities for which it has clear legal authority," the senators wrote. In addition to Sen DeMint, the letter was signed by GOP Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), John Thune (R-ND), John Cornyn (R-TX), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). The Republican senators said they take no position on any pending cases, but they said they are "concerned about the apparent eagerness of the Commission under your leadership to expand Section 5 actions without a clear indication of authority or a limiting principle." "When a federal regulatory agency uses creative theories to expand its activities, entrepreneurs may be deterred from innovating and growing lest they be targeted by government action," they wrote. They said they are especially concerned that overreaching regulation could stifle growth in the vibrant technology sector. "We hope the Commission considers the consequences of hampering legitimate business model innovations and market activities of companies under an aimless, expansive, and possibly unauthorized use of the Commission's powers," they wrote. "We support innovation and believe economic expansion will follow if the government acts with humility rather than experimentation."



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