Ms. Khan will also have more blunt instruments at her disposal. The agency can reject mergers or force companies to change the terms of their acquisitions. In the last decade, the agency has approved numerous deals involving tech giants, such as Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods. It didn’t get in the way of Facebook purchases from Instagram and WhatsApp. But Ms Khan has already said that she believes regulators should take a closer look at such transactions.
The agency can also take companies to court for breaking the law, such as when it sued Facebook last year accusing it of abusing its monopoly power. You can set rules about what constitutes fair competition.
Ms. Khan is one of five commissioners and one of three Democrats, giving her a job majority when starting her new job. But Chopra has been nominated to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and his departure would block the commission between the Democrats and his two Republicans until Biden can get a new member confirmed by the Senate.
It also faces other threats to its agenda. Any major move he makes will have to survive the challenges in courtrooms dominated by conservative judges. This year, the Supreme Court unanimously limited the FTC’s ability to recover money from companies that mislead customers.
Critics say that the job of the antitrust and consumer protection enforcer is to adhere to the laws that already exist. However, his reputation is based on his criticism of the laws.
Robert Bork Jr., chairman of the Antitrust Education Project, a group that advocates for a traditional interpretation of antitrust law, wrote Tuesday that Ms. Khan was an “academic celebrity who reformulated antitrust law into a tool to enable the government controls capitalism ”. Bork is the son of Robert Bork, the jurist who defended much of the current antitrust doctrine that Khan criticizes.
His skepticism of an antitrust theory known as the consumer welfare standard, the measure of competition based on whether prices for consumers rise, is dangerous, Bork warned.