The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (ATR) is, along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the primary regulator of antitrust law and is responsible for ensuring markets’ competitiveness. In that capacity, it investigates corporate consolidation and allegations of collusion and anticompetitive practices that undermine the free market. ATR is also responsible for supervising mergers and acquisitions to ensure that companies cannot establish monopolies. While both ATR and the FTC share this objective, the two divide jurisdiction based on industry. ATR also investigates and prosecutes criminal antitrust violations.
Consistent with President Biden’s executive order calling for a reversal of the trend of industry consolidation, “which constrain[s] the growth and dynamism of our economy, impair[s] the creation of high-quality jobs, and threaten[s] America’s economic standing in the world,” the administration has moved to revitalize antitrust enforcement to “combat the excessive concentration of industry, the abuses of market power, and the harmful effects of monopoly and monopsony.”
The Antitrust Division is currently headed by Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter, who, along with Lina Khan at the FTC, Rohit Chopra at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Gary Gensler at the Securities and Exchange Commission, headlines the slate of corporate critics Biden has tapped to lead renewed corporate regulation and combat monopolization.
Image: “Amazon_Monopoly” is an illustration by On the Media based on a cartoon from the Library of Congress. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0