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FTC Launches Process Reforms

The Federal Trade Commission has launched an effort to streamline the agency's process.

The effort comes under the directive of acting chair Maureen Ohlhausen and in the spirit of an executive order to that effect to federal agencies by President Donald Trump -- "spirit" because independent agencies such as the FTC, and the FCC as well, are not bound by executive orders. An FTC spokesperson was checking at press time but that has generally been the theory about executive orders and independent agencies.

Related: FTC's Ohlhausen Says Agency Should Focus on Real Harms

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

Related: FCC's Pai Institutes More Process Reforms

“I welcomed the President’s directive," Ohlhausen said, "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 streamline 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; (4) integrate economic expertise earlier in investigations for the sake of consumer welfare; and (5) seek input across the agency on other reforms.

FCC chair Ajit Pai is also trying to bake economics into FCC processes.

Ohlhausen said Monday (April 17) 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," she said.

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.