Congressional Split Looms Over Including Retroactive Reach In FTC Monetary Relief Authority
Lawmakers disagree whether legislation to amend an FTC regulation to grant the commission authority to pursue monetary remedies should be retroactive, which would impact approximately 75 pending federal court cases alleging violations.
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House already passed legislation to amend Sec. 13(b) of FTC regulations and make explicit its authority to obtain injunctive and equitable relief in court, but differences in Democrat and Republican commission appointees' views on the authority was a key topic of discussion during a recent Energy and Commerce hearing.
Limiting FTC authority to enforcement started after legislation passes rather than all pending complaints as House bill allows could be divisive. But consumer health marketers question number of years before a complaint is filed agency can allege a business used false and misleading advertising under legislation the House passed.
US Chamber of Commerce’s position to deny retroactive applicability in collecting monetary relief under the FTC Act against advertising violators would provide a “gaping loophole” for violators to escape consequences and encourage future misdeeds, says FTC acting chairwoman Rebecca Kelly Slaughter.