Antitrust regulation is a complex mess. Multiple agencies have overlapping jurisdiction with no set rules for determining who takes which cases. One of the antitrust enforcement agencies, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), even has its own court system, where it sets the rules and hire its own judges, and pays their salaries. Over at The Hill, Alex Reinauer and I take a look at two bills from Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) that would simplify the mess a little bit. One bill is the SMARTER Act:
It would require the DOJ [Department of Justice] and the FTC to follow a uniform interpretation of the Clayton Act, which governs merger cases. Currently, the agencies can follow different interpretations as suits their political needs, confusing judges and defendants alike.
It would also require the FTC to use independent courts.
The other is the One Agency Act:
Lee’s second bill is the One Agency Act. It would remove the FTC from merger cases entirely, though not from other antitrust cases. The Justice Department is perfectly capable of handling merger cases, and one agency in charge would add simplicity, predictability, and expertise. It would also end pointless turf battles between the agencies.