U.S. FTC commissioner Christine Wilson to resign

Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

Feb 14 (Reuters) - Christine Wilson, the sole Republican on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), said on Tuesday she will resign soon, blaming the move on the agency's top official, Lina Khan.

"Much ink has been spilled about Lina Khan's attempts to remake federal antitrust law as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission," Wilson wrote in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. "Less has been said about her disregard for the rule of law and due process and the way senior FTC officials enable her."

Wilson said in the piece that she would resign "soon" but gave no date.

Her departure will not change the balance of power in the commission. It should have five members but without Wilson, a Republican, it would have just Khan, as chair, and commissioners Rebecca Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya. All three are Democrats.

Khan, Slaughter and Bedoya said in a brief statement that they wished Wilson well. "While we often disagreed with Commissioner Wilson, we respect her devotion to her beliefs and are grateful for her public service," they said.

The agency declined further comment.

Wilson said Khan has been responsible for "abuses of power," such as voting to challenge Meta Platforms Inc's (META.O) acquisition of virtual reality content maker Within. Wilson argued that Khan had said before coming to the FTC that Meta should not be able to make additional acquisitions, and that this meant Khan should be recused from FTC deliberations regarding the deal.

"I dissented on due-process grounds, which require those sitting in a judicial capacity to avoid even the appearance of unfairness," wrote Wilson. The FTC lost the fight to stop the deal.

Wilson accused the Biden administration FTC of overstepping by being too aggressive in stopping mergers and banning most noncompete clauses.

Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru and Diane Bartz in Washington Editing by Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Focused on U.S. antitrust as well as corporate regulation and legislation, with experience involving covering war in Bosnia, elections in Mexico and Nicaragua, as well as stories from Brazil, Chile, Cuba, El Salvador, Nigeria and Peru.