Amazon Antitrust Critic Joins FTC as Agency Sets Sights on Tech

Lina Khan, a prominent critic of Amazon.com Inc.’s business practices, is joining the office of Federal Trade Commissioner Rohit Chopra as the agency prepares to increase antitrust scrutiny of technology firms.

Khan, the director of legal policy at Washington think tank Open Markets Institute, will work as a legal fellow for the next few months for Chopra, one of two Democratic commissioners at the agency, he said July 9 on Twitter.

“Lina is sharp as a tack and works her fingers to the bone,” Chopra said. “I have no doubt she will be a valuable member of the FTC team as we think about how to tackle the pressing issues that lie ahead.“

Khan has risen to prominence in Washington antitrust circles for her work on Amazon, appearing on numerous panels to make the case that technology platforms like the online retail giant represent a threat to competitive markets.

As a student at Yale Law School, Khan wrote a paper for the Yale Law Journal called “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” which argues that the current antitrust enforcement framework is ill-equipped to tackle Amazon’s dominance and the potential harm it poses to competition. Her work was cited by the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, in a speech in April as an example of fresh thinking on digital platforms.

Khan joins the FTC as Chairman Joe Simons said that the agency will host a series of public hearings this year on competition policy, including examining the online economy and whether technology firms are undermining competition.

Khan declined to comment when reached by phone.

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To contact the reporter on this story: David McLaughlin in Washington at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net

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