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FTC Launches Process Reforms

The Federal Trade Commission has launched an effort to streamline the agency's process under the directive of acting chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and in the spirit of an executive order to that affect to federal agencies by President Donald Trump. 

"Spirit" because the FTC, and the FCC as well, are not bound by executive orders since they are independent agencies. An FTC spokesperson was checking at presstime but that has generally been the theory about executive orders and independent agencies. 

However, they are both under the executive branch, both headed by Trump appointees, both cut from a deregulatory cloth, and both have gotten into the spirit of process reforms

“I welcomed the President’s directive," said Ohlhausen, "and we’re already working hard to achieve it. The FTC will continue to pursue the right answer for consumers, but we will work hard to get there as efficiently as we can."

She said the agency will better focus its resources in the interests of taxpayers. 

She said Monday that already underway are streamlining information "demands" in competition and consumer protection investigations to 1) eliminate "unnecessary costs" to companies and individuals; 2) close "older" investigations where possible; 3) identity "unnecessary regulations" no longer in the public interest; 3) review data security investigations that are now closed to improve guidance and transparency; 5) integrate economic expertise earlier in investigations for the sake of consumer welfare (FCC chairman Ajit Pai is also trying to bake economics into FCC processes); and 6) seek input across the agency on other reforms.

Ohlhausen said Monday that those are only the first steps, echoing a theme of the Trump Administration. "[I]mproving efficiency and productivity never stops in the private sector, government should operate no differently."

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.