FTC Chair Wants Agency To Get Expanded Powers


Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz wants the Congress to expand the commission's power to combat "unfair and deceptive" trade practices.

In a letter this week to members of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Leibowitz urged it to support the "expanded authority" given to the agency under the Consumer Financial Protection Act (H.R.3126), which the committee is marking up Thursday.

That act is a byproduct of the economic meltdown and the desire by the Obama administration to crack down on false and deceptive practices in the financial services sector.

The bill would give the FTC more streamlined rulemaking authority; establish aiding and abetting liability for unfair or deceptive practices; and give it civil penalty authority. Advertisers are concerned that could be used as a wide net for an activist agency to cast over its ad practices.