November 28, 2018 / 12:22 AM / 3 months ago

FTC to brief lawmakers on subpoena targeting Matthew Whitaker

Federal Trade Chairman Joseph Simons testifies on the "Oversight of the Federal Trade Commission" before the U.S. Senate Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance and Data Security Subcommittee in the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, U.S., November 27, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday the agency will brief members of a Senate panel on the matter of a subpoena it issued last year that Matthew Whitaker, now the acting attorney general, reportedly refused to comply with.

Whitaker declined to respond to the October 2017 subpoena from the FTC, which had sought records related to his past relationship with World Patent Marketing, the Washington Post reported this month.

World Patent Marketing, a company accused by the government of bilking millions of dollars from consumers, admitted no fault but settled with the FTC for more than $25 million earlier this year. Whitaker was not named in that complaint.

Senators Richard Blumenthal and Tom Udall asked FTC Chairman Joseph Simons repeatedly about the subpoena at a hearing Tuesday of a subcommittee of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Simons called the failure to comply with the subpoena “troubling” but noted that he arrived at the FTC in May 2018, after World Patent Marketing settled with the agency.

“The staff would be happy to brief you,” he said.

Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec told the Post: “Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker has said he was not aware of any fraudulent activity. Any stories suggesting otherwise are false.” She declined further comment on Tuesday evening.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Tom Brown

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