FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson is resigning, penning a scathing op-ed in The Wall Street Journal condemning Chairwoman Lina Khan.
Lina Khan was a controversial choice to lead the Federal Trade Commission, with some in the tech industry opposed to her appointment over her long-standing criticism of Big Tech. Since taking over the agency, Khan has increased regulatory scrutiny of tech companies.
In her op-ed, Wilson argues the case that Khan has taken the FTC beyond the rule of law, and she can there no longer stand by and “enable her”:
Much ink has been spilled about Lina Khan’s attempts to remake federal antitrust law as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. Less has been said about her disregard for the rule of law and due process and the way senior FTC officials enable her. I have failed repeatedly to persuade Ms. Khan and her enablers to do the right thing, and I refuse to give their endeavor any further hint of legitimacy by remaining. Accordingly, I will soon resign as an FTC commissioner.
Wilson accuses Khan and her allies of breaking with established law and “decades of bipartisan precedent” in the pursuit of their agenda:
Since Ms. Khan’s confirmation in 2021, my staff and I have spent countless hours seeking to uncover her abuses of government power. That task has become increasingly difficult as she has consolidated power within the Office of the Chairman, breaking decades of bipartisan precedent and undermining the commission structure that Congress wrote into law. I have sought to provide transparency and facilitate accountability through speeches and statements, but I face constraints on the information I can disclose—many legitimate, but some manufactured by Ms. Khan and the Democratic majority to avoid embarrassment.
Wilson also takes aim at Khan’s past criticism of Big Tech and argues that it disqualifies Khan from serving as an impartial judge in cases involving the companies she has railed against in the past.
Consider the FTC’s challenge to Meta’s acquisition of Within, a virtual-reality gaming company. Before joining the FTC, Ms. Khan argued that Meta should be blocked from making any future acquisitions and wrote a report on the same issues as a congressional staffer. She would now sit as a purportedly impartial judge and decide whether Meta can acquire Within. Spurning due-process considerations and federal ethics obligations, my Democratic colleagues on the commission affirmed Ms. Khan’s decision not to recuse herself.
Commissioner Wilson’s op-ed is a lengthy read, one in which she continues to detail her allegations of abuses of power on Khan’s part.
Most interestingly, Wilson’s position is an increasingly rare one in US politics. Wilson is currently the only Republican FTC Commissioner. As such, she repeatedly calls out her Democratic colleagues at a time when cracking down on antitrust abuses is one of the few things that lawmakers and regultors on both sides of the aisle can agree on.