Over the past few years, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has devoted her tenure in Congress to pushing through radical antitrust legislation to boost her progressive credentials, despite zero genuine public support for any of her extremist proposals. Now, Senator Klobuchar is at it again, attempting to co-opt an isolated mishap with Taylor Swift concert tickets to convince Congress to give broad powers to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to determine contract rules for the ticketing agency.
Along with Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Klobuchar has now introduced the deceptively-named “Unlock Ticketing Markets Act.” Even though Klobuchar’s press release bemoans “ticketing contracts that last up to ten years,” the bill gives power to the FTC to issue rulemaking to ban contracts that last for an “excessive duration” of “more than 4 years.” Klobuchar intends to interfere in relatively standard agreements across the entire ticketing industry by allowing the FTC to block even typical contracts by misleadingly labeling them as “excessive.” Given the various abuses of power and current partisan makeup of the FTC, now would be the worst possible time to give such broad power to the agency. However, Khan’s recent overreaches indicate the danger of giving too much authority to the FTC.
Klobuchar’s press statement criticizes the supposed practice of “one company…[using] its dominance to pressure venues” to enter into these contracts. Even though she claims that her issue is with “dominance” and “pressure,” her solution is to ban the practice altogether. It seems that she has a greater desire to widely impede business activities within the industry. Such a policy ignores that contracts can prove mutually beneficial for all parties. If Klobuchar had an issue with dominant platforms exerting pressure, she would propose a resolution imploring Lina Khan to devote more resources to investigating those practices, instead of using the minimal FTC resources to pursue loser cases against Meta and send staffers on trips to Europe to help them attack American businesses. However, Klobuchar’s “concern” is merely an excuse to ban traditional business practices and put American companies in a “Mother-May-I” relationship with the federal government in order to boost her progressive credentials.
The Unlock Ticketing Markets Act far exceeds the intended aim of blocking “pressure” from “dominant” platforms. This bill is nothing more than another attempt to increase the size of government by giving more power to an out-of-control agency. Instead of further empowering the FTC, Congress should work to rein the agency in.