The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division have officially shipped personnel to Brussels to provide assistance to the European Union in implementing the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This marks the beginning of formal collusion between the FTC/DOJ and European bureaucrats to undermine American companies via antitrust law.
This announcement comes as the antitrust agencies demand historic budget increases for additional staff. FTC Chair Lina Khan is currently asking Congress for $590 million in funding for FY 2024, a 37% increase of $160 million. President Biden has similarly requested an “historic increase” of $100 million for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division.
Both Khan and DOJ Antitrust AAG Jonathan Kanter have lamented that their respective agencies suffer from staffing shortages and insufficient resources. Yet, they have the capacity to send personnel to Europe to assist with DMA implementation. Both things cannot be true at the same time. It is also unclear why staff need to physically travel to Europe given that Lina Khan works remotely full-time from New York City.
In reality, these taxpayer-funded trips to Europe will enable Khan’s staff to help undermine American businesses through foreign laws that unfairly discriminate against American companies. This will ultimately leave American consumers holding the bag. A CSIS study found that Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act (DSA) “conservatively entail some $22 billion to $50 billion in new compliance and operational costs to U.S. digital services providers and force them to forego critical business opportunities, such as being able to leverage proprietary data to develop new goods and services or even to offer European firms bundled services.” The study also noted that “if U.S. digital services raised their costs on U.S. companies by just 5 percent due to EU regulation, U.S. companies could incur over $97 billion in new costs.”
These bills clearly discriminate against American businesses compared to their foreign counterparts. Such concerns have led to Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) sending a rare bipartisan letter to President Biden opposing these bills. Thus, our antitrust agencies are actively using their limited resources to help implement foreign laws that will cost American businesses and consumers more money, while having the audacity to ask for more money in taxpayer dollars to fund more of their wasteful activities.
Instead of rewarding the FTC and DOJ with more taxpayer dollars, Congress should ban them from spending resources on sending staff to Europe to implement laws that unfairly target American businesses and consumers.