FTC's Public Hearings Will Be Valuable

By David Balto (September 13, 2018, 3:50 PM EDT) -- In its wisdom, Congress created a competition and consumer protection agency that was not solely about enforcement, but also had broad powers to ask questions and guide policy. This is vital because competition law is a broadly written and living law. Since the Sherman Act technically bans virtually all business (scholars note that every contract restrains trade), it has been up to courts to interpret what proper antitrust enforcement is. Section 6 of the Federal Trade Commission Act gives the agency broad fact-finding powers it has historically used to put the spotlight on new economic thinking and important market developments. Congress intended the FTC to ask questions, but the FTC does not necessarily have to provide answers....

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