GOP Gets Tough On FTC Over Recordkeeping Practices

A report shows that three Republican congressmen voiced worries about the inappropriate destruction of papers requested by congressional investigators, prompting the FTC to be questioned about its record-keeping practices.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) and two House chairmen wrote a letter to Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khans seeking information about the agency’s record-keeping practices and related antitrust enforcement and consumer protection policies.

The Judiciary announced that The FTC broke the law by erasing these records. It also made it harder for Congress to monitor the FTC’s novel policies, such as the proposed regulation to outlaw non-compete provisions.

Reps. James Comer (R-KY), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability, and Jim Jordan (R-OH), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, signed on to a letter from Cruz demanding an explanation for why the FTC destroyed records without authorization, a list of the records that were destroyed without authorization, and a plan for preventing a similar incident in the future.

Reports show that in February, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer (R-KY) wrote to the Commission asking for more information about a proposed rule that exceeds the Commission’s granted powers and applies a one-size-fits-all approach that infringes on American federalism and free markets.

Three months later, the FTC wrote back to the House Judiciary Committee staff, explaining that it had removed information potentially pertinent to the Committee’s requests, including documents related to the CFPB detailee who oversaw the FTC’s rulemaking.

A further point in the letter was that the FTC has not satisfactorily addressed concerns regarding its retention policy. The FTC should have anticipated lawsuits, FOIA demands, and Congressional monitoring, but the agency has failed to clarify how relevant papers were destroyed.

Lawmakers said that agencies must retain specific records under the Federal Records Act and that the FTC has failed to do so.

The Republicans asked the FTC for a complete inventory of all conversations, including any records the FTC might have destroyed in response to the 12 additional oversight investigations conducted by Congress.