The Chamber of Commerce, the most powerful business lobbying group in the U.S., launched a series of attacks on the Federal Trade Commission on Friday and threatened litigation to push back on the progressive agenda of chair Lina Khan.
Clark said the chamber, a longtime foe of the FTC, is showing it will "use every tool at our disposal, including litigation," to confront what it called the commission's "abuse of power."
Khan, a tech critic and advocate of aggressive antitrust enforcement, has been making procedural changes enabling her and her fellow Democrats to speed their agenda, which also includes resurrecting practices like rulemaking that businesses and Republicans have long fought.
The chamber in particular called out the controversial use of so-called "zombie votes." Khan, who has faced weeks with a 2–2 partisan split on the commission since the departure of Rohit Chopra to take over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has used votes that Chopra pre-cast on certain matters before he left.
The chamber's threats come as Republicans grow increasingly personal in their attacks on the Biden tech agenda, even though some Trump-allied conservatives expressed interest in Khan's potential to take on Big Tech when she was first nominated. GOP Commissioner Christine Wilson has criticized Khan repeatedly in speeches, and on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz called Alvaro Bedoya, whom Biden has nominated to take over Chopra's spot at the FTC, "a provocateur, a bomb-thrower and an extremist."
Khan and Democratic allies still appear poised for their next moves, however. FTC spokeswoman Lindsay Kryzak told the Wall Street Journal the commission is "not going to back down because corporate lobbyists are making threats."
In addition, the Democrats' massive social-spending package, which passed the House on Friday morning, would boost the FTC's funding, create a privacy bureau inside the commission and expand its ability to impose penalties. The measure now goes to the Senate, where moderate Democrats may seek to scale it back and the chamber is already pushing changes on the FTC provisions.