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WASHINGTON, June 15 (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will name Lina Khan, an antitrust researcher focused on Big Tech’s immense market power, to chair the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, sources said on Tuesday, a key win for progressives who have pushed for tougher laws to tackle monopolies and growing corporate power.
Separately, Khan was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to the FTC as a commissioner earlier on Tuesday with strong bipartisan support.
She most recently taught at Columbia Law School and was on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, where she helped write a massive report that sharply criticized Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Apple Inc (AAPL.O), Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) for allegedly abusing their dominance.
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that the administration’s selection of Khan was “tremendous news.”
“With Chair Khan at the helm, we have a huge opportunity to make big, structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren said in a separate statement.
Biden‘s decision to tap Khan follows the selection of fellow progressive and Big Tech critic Tim Wu to join the National Economic Council. read more
Khan joins the commission as the federal government and groups of states are pursuing various lawsuits and investigations into Big Tech companies. The FTC has sued Facebook and is investigating Amazon. The Justice Department has sued Alphabet’s Google. read more
In 2017, she wrote a highly regarded article, “Amazon‘s Antitrust Paradox,” for the Yale Law Journal which argued that the traditional antitrust focus on price was inadequate to identify antitrust harms done by Amazon.
In addition to antitrust, the FTC investigates allegations of deceptive advertising.
On that front, Khan will join an agency which is painfully adapting to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling from April which said the agency could not use a particular part of its statute, 13(b), to demand consumers get restitution from deceptive companies but can only ask for an injunction. read more Congress is considering a legislative fix.
Khan previously worked at the FTC as a legal adviser to Commissioner Rohit Chopra, Biden‘s pick to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
“We applaud President Biden and the Senate for recognizing the urgent need to address runaway corporate power,” advocacy group Public Citizen said in a statement.
Reporting by Diane Bartz and Richard Cowan; Editing by Richard Chang