(FiveNation.com)- In a unanimous decision back in April, the Supreme Court rebuked the Federal Trade Commission for its decades-long abuse of its authority to extract massive fines from companies accused of unfair trade practices. SCOTUS determined that the FTC never had that authority to begin with.
Not to be denied their abuse of authority, the FTC is now trying to find a workaround that allows them to continue the practice despite the Supreme Court’s decision.
This is what attorney Caleb Kruckenberg from the Pacific Legal Foundation believes.
In an op-ed written for The Hill, Kruckenberg warns that, despite the SCOTUS reining the FTC in, the commission is using semantics and sleight of hand to continue extracting these fines.
According to Krukenberg, under the leadership of FTC Chair Lina Khan, the commission has embraced an “activist mission” to micromanage business practices and punish any companies it disagrees with. To meet that end, the FTC wants the power to heavily fine companies whether or not Congress gives them the authority to do it.
Shortly after the SCOTUS decision, in a proposed settlement the FTC recently made public, the commission proposed to settle charges against a company by imposing a $753,300 fine “with any remainder not used for redress to be disgorged to the Treasury.”
“Disgorgement” is exactly the policy the Supreme Court rebuked them for.
In a statement announcing the proposed settlement, Linda Khan said even if the settlement wasn’t allowed by law, the FTC could still approve settlements that “include relief beyond what could have been awarded at trial.”
The proposed settlement was not unanimously agreed upon by all five members of the FTC. Two commissioners voted against it, pointing out that federal courts determined almost 30 years ago that the “redress” statute forbids the FTC from ordering fines payable to the Treasury.
The dissenting commissioners argued that the FTC is attempting to sidestep the court to “overstep the authority” the FTC has.
Kruckenberg writes that the Pacific Legal Foundation, along with other public interest groups plans to provide resources for companies looking to challenge the FTC’s workaround tactics in court.