Republican Senator Proposes Plan To Blow Up FTC

( – If Josh Hawley, a Republican senator from Missouri, had his way, the Federal Trade Commission would no longer be an independent agency. Instead, it would be a part of the Department of Justice.

Hawley proposed a plan to do just that this week, as he says it would limit the corruption within the agency and would more effectively watch over antitrust cases in the technology industry. Hawley’s proposal would replace all five members of the commission that oversees the current iteration of the FTC, replacing them with a director who would be confirmed by the Senate. This director would serve five-year terms that could be renewed, and they would serve under the associate attorney general at the DOJ.

In a statement, Hawley said:

“The FTC isn’t working. It wastes time in turf wars with the DOJ. Nobody is accountable for decisions, and it lacks the ‘teeth’ to get after Big Tech’s rampant abuses. Congress needs to do something about it.”

Another part of Hawley’s proposal would separate the roles of the Antitrust Division of the DOJ and the commission. The DOJ would assume the complete authority for reviewing mergers and acquisitions.

In addition, the FTC would add a “digital markets research section,” which would assist with potential litigation brought by the DOJ. The commission’s new tasks would include enforcing data portability, data minimization and interoperability for tech firms as well as assessing penalties for all first-time offenders.

While Hawley’s proposal isn’t connected to any other proposal or any other politician, it is very similar to one that Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic candidate for president, has said is part of her platform. Last fall, she said she create a plan that would “slam shut the revolving door between government and giant, dominant firms.”

The plan that Warren detailed would put in place a ban lasting four years for lobbying by former government officials for “giant corporations, banks and market-dominant companies.”

Senator Hawley’s latest proposal, meanwhile, also seeks to put a stop to ethical violations that often occur with what he called “revolving-door relationships” that occur between leadership and tech companies and former senior officials from the FCC.

His plan also includes a ban on lobbying for former officials with large companies, but his would last two years instead of the four that is proposed in Warren’s plan. In addition, Hawley specifically outlines for how the ban would relate. It would effectively only ban former government officials from lobbying with any company that grosses more than $30 billion in revenue on an annual basis.

Clearly, Hawley isn’t the only legislator who believes there are issues with the FTC, especially as it relates to corruption and intermingling in the tech industry. But will his bill have the support it needs in the Senate? It’s possible that it does, especially with Warren sitting on the other side of the aisle proposing similar legislation that would curb the current FTC’s powers and seek to put a stop to what Hawlays calls “rampant abuses.”