WASHINGTON: President of the United States Joe Biden intends to nominate Lina Khan, an antitrust researcher , which has focused its work on Big Tech’s huge market power to be a commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, the White House said Monday.
Khan, who teaches at the Columbia Law School, is highly respected by progressive antitrust thinkers who are pushing for stricter antitrust laws or at least stricter enforcement of existing legislation.
Her nomination followed in the footsteps of fellow progressive and Big Tech critic Tim Wu as a member of the National Economic Council.
If confirmed, Khan will return to FTC where she was a legal adviser to Commissioner Rohit Chopra, Biden’s elected director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Khan was on the staff of the Judicial Commission’s antitrust committee, which last year wrote a huge report that sharply criticized the big technology companies, Amazon Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Alphabet Inc.
The FTC is working with the Department of Justice to enforce antitrust law and investigate allegations of fraudulent advertising.
While Senator Amy Klobuchar, who strongly supports antitrust enforcement, welcomed her nomination, NetChoice, whose members include Facebook and Google, opposed it as a “radical choice”.
“She is more interested in subjectively changing antitrust law than in analyzing and enforcing the law as it is,” said NetChoice adviser Carl Szabo.
Khan’s nomination comes as the federal government and groups of states have numerous lawsuits and investigations by major technology companies. The FTC has filed a lawsuit against Facebook and is investigating Amazon. The Ministry of Justice has sued Google.
In 2017, she wrote a highly regarded article, The Amazon Antitrust Paradox, for the Yale Law Journal, which argues that the traditional antitrust focus on price is insufficient to identify the antitrust damage caused by Amazon.
The FTC also evaluates pharmaceutical mergers to ensure that they are legal under antitrust law.