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UPDATE 1-Republicans complain U.S. FTC chair Khan is overstepping her power

·2 min read

(Adds comment from Lina Khan on litigation risk)

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Reuters) - Republicans at the U.S Federal Trade Commission told Congress on Wednesday that the agency's Democratic leadership has been moving too quickly on decisions, leaving too little time for debate and assuming too much power.

Commissioner Christine Wilson, a Republican, said the commission had previously had briefings and "robust dialogue" that led to "reasoned conclusions" but stopped short of directly blaming FTC Chair Lina Khan, who was named to the position by President Joe Biden in June.

"In recent weeks long standing norms and procedures have been jettisoned," she told a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. "I have long been concerned about the possibility of agency overreach and recent actions by commission leadership has deepened those concerns."

The FTC's commissioners voted along party lines three times in two open meetings this month to make it easier for the agency to stop mergers that it considers anti-competitive.

The two Republicans on the panel have criticized them for making some of the decisions too fast.

FTC Chair Khan, who has been on the job for just weeks, said she would work with the Republican commissioners.

Khan, without naming any companies, said courts have "become more hostile" to antitrust cases. She declined to discuss the agency's antitrust complaint against Facebook, which was dismissed last month, although the agency will be allowed to amend it and refile.

Khan said the agency should make its view known on what the law should be, particularly in areas where judges' rulings are making it harder for antitrust agencies to win. She noted also, however, some past "timidity" in enforcement because of concerns over losing in court.

Some Republicans have been angered with dominant tech companies because of allegations they treat conservatives unfairly. Criticisms from Democrats have focused on allegations the Big Tech companies treat smaller rivals unfairly by seeking to crush their challengers if they cannot purchase them. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Lincoln Feast.)