Lina Khan faces grilling on Capitol Hill after Microsoft-Activision defeat

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan — who just got smacked down by a federal judge in her bid to block Microsoft’s $75 billion purchase of Activision — is now set to get grilled on Capitol Hill.

House Oversight Committee Members Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Nancy Mace (R-SC) are leading a panel that’s slated to question Khan Thursday on a slew of issues including alleged mismanagement of staff, an overly burdensome merger review process, and even alleged harassment of Twitter following its acquisition by Elon Musk, according to a 23-page Judiciary Committee memo obtained by The Post.

“Chair Khan is wasting agency resources in ill-advised and unlawful policy and enforcement efforts; Chair Khan is using her power to advance a woke agenda across corporate America,” according to the memo.

“Because of Chair Khan’s mismanagement, the FTC is weaker today than it was under the Trump Administration; Chair Khan continues to resist Congressional oversight,” the memo added.

While Khan was sworn in at the FTC just two years ago, Republicans have a lot of material they plan to throw at her, based on a review of the Judiciary memo. 

GOP members of the Judiciary plan to slam her on the perilously low morale of staff. 36% of staff said they were motivated by FTC management in 2022 — down from 80% in 2020, according to an internal FTC survey. Just 44% respected FTC leadership in 2022 while 83% respected leadership as of 2020, the survey adds. 

FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan
Lina Khan will face questioning over a slew of topics, including the poor morale among FTC staff.

At the same time, the memo claims Khan has continued to resist Congressional oversight — having refused, for example, to provide relevant documents about the FTC’s reason for launching an investigation of Twitter that demanded the company “identify all journalists” who were given information about the launch of its “Twitter Blue” service.

In the wake of her botched attempt to block the Activision-Microsoft deal, some members are also preparing to question her on whether she wrongfully coordinated with foreign regulators or Democratic allies like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), The Post has learned. 

Head of the UK regulatory agency Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) Sarah Cardell recently confirmed the agency met with the FTC 26 times and exchanged 74 emails discussing the Microsoft-Activision case. 

Under the antitrust law in the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, the FTC is not allowed to discuss its case with the CMA once its commenced active litigation.

While Khan has said the agency “absolutely did not collude,” others are more skeptical. 

Microsoft building
Khan will be questioned about her handling of the Microsoft-Activision case.
AFP via Getty Images

“They can discuss timing but can’t talk about actual evidence they obtained from parties,” One former FTC Commissioner who spoke on the condition of anonymity said.

“How can we expect an American company to cooperate with enforcers if the agency is then freely sharing that information with other companies — they’re turning over the most confidential information they have including trade secrets, IP, and confidential plans?” the ex-commissioner added.

“The irony of this is that a company would be prosecuted if they handed over that info to other companies — it would be collusion,” the source explained. “But these agencies are allowed to do it.”

While an insider said both of these topics could come up, they won’t be the main focus.

The Post was first to report Rep. Jordan planned to hold hearings investigating Khan’s conduct.

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𝗖𝗿𝗲𝗱𝗶𝘁𝘀, 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝘆𝗿𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 & 𝗖𝗼𝘂𝗿𝘁𝗲𝘀𝘆:
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