Senate to Consider Financial Regulatory Reform Bill Next Week
Will Expanded Regulatory Powers for FTC Be on the Table?
We need your immediate assistance to defeat legislation that would greatly expand the regulatory and enforcement powers of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the entire business community. These enhanced powers are so sweeping that former FTC Chairman Jim Miller described them as "putting the FTC on steroids."
It is very likely that the Senate will begin consideration of the financial regulatory reform bill next week. It is critical that our members immediately contact Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, and other members of that Committee (particularly Democratic members) to express your strong opposition to expanded regulatory powers for the FTC.
The House passed its version of the financial regulatory reform bill last December. Buried in that bill were three critical changes in FTC authority:
- Repealing the Magnuson Moss rulemaking procedures (including the requirement that an activity be "prevalent" in an industry before Commission action) and allowing the FTC to promulgate broad industry-wide rules on any consumer protection matter in a highly expedited procedure - all done with a lower standard of judicial review;
- Expanding the FTC's authority to immediately impose civil money penalties for any violation of the FTC Act without the involvement of the Department of Justice;
- Providing new liability for "aiders and abettors" of companies that violate the FTC Act, potentially putting thousands of companies at risk by running ads.
These changes are not limited to the authority of the FTC over financial products and services. They would apply to the broad regulatory authority the FTC has over almost every segment of our economy.
These expanded powers are not included in the Senate Banking Committee's version of the financial reform bill. If these new authorities are to be granted to the FTC, it is critical that they be considered separately as part of legislation to reauthorize the FTC. They should not be included hurriedly in the Senate financial reform bill.
ANA has been working with a broad coalition of industry groups to oppose these changes. A copy of our letter to the Senate Commerce Committee with more details on each of these proposals is available here.
It is very important that members of the Committee hear directly from companies with substantial operations and employees in their home states. Please contact Chairman Rockefeller and other members of the Senate Commerce Committee immediately to express your opposition to these expanded FTC powers.