Thursday, April 14, 2011
Antitrust Agency Infighting Continues - Varney Responds to FTC Criticism by Suggesting All Antitrust Enforcement Be Moved to DOJ A Possibility
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
We are down to Defcon 2 in the antitrust inter-agency fighting. Christine Varney gave an interview to Bloomberg in which she stated, "“I think what business does need is clarity, certainty and understanding of the legal framework within which their deals will be evaluated[.]” I agree. Both because of differences between agencies (independent agency versus executive agency) and differences in legal standards for a PI, we have a problem. Bloomberg did not pull any juicy quotes from her akin to the Kovacic and Rosch comments from earlier this week. However, I did note the following passage:
Having the FTC handle consumer protection while the Justice Department addresses competition and monopoly is “certainly one option,” said Varney, a former FTC commissioner.
How much of this is a mere statement of fact (it is after all a possibility) and how much is posturing, I don't know. The US agencies are not the only ones that confront fundamental institutional change. The UK is going through serious change at the moment too.