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Lina Khan Has to Act Fast on Her Progressive Antitrust Agenda at the FTC

The chair finally has a Democratic majority, but the midterm elections could end the agency’s chance to swing big.
Khan speaks during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in Washington on May 18.

Khan speaks during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in Washington on May 18.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg

Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan finally has a chance to take her shot at Big Tech and longtime nemesis Amazon.com. It might not last long, though.

Khan’s surprise elevation to lead the FTC last summer delighted fellow progressives. Then a 32-year-old Columbia Law School professor, she was hailed for a treatise she wrote as a law student rethinking how antitrust law should apply to Amazon.com Inc. She’s argued that the commission—created in 1914 by lawmakers who wanted to bust up the railroad, meatpacking, and oil monopolies of the day—is the perfect vehicle for a complete overhaul of antitrust enforcement because it has broad authority to police business conduct and mergers. Khan, through a spokesman, declined to comment for this story.