Committee Chairs Rodgers and Jordan Demand Answers from Khan Following DAEO Ethics Report

Washington, D.C. Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), along with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH), sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan raising concerns about her adherence to federal ethics guidance and whether she misled Congress about ethics advice from the FTC's Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO). 

On April 18, 2023, Chair Khan testified before an Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing regarding the FTC’s budget. At that hearing, Chair Rodgers asked Chair Khan: “Are there any instances where you’ve not followed the DAEO’s advice?” After pausing for a few seconds, Chair Khan responded, “no,” and then attempted to explain her response by stating, “I have consulted with the DAEO and have taken actions that are consistent with the legal statements the DAEO has made.” 

On June 16, 2023, a journalist published a nonpartisan ethics memorandum, dated August 31, 2022, and written by the FTC’s DAEO, analyzing Chair Khan's ability to sit as a judge in a specific proceeding before the FTC. According to the ethics memorandum, the DAEO “recommend[ed] Chair Khan recuse to avoid an appearance of partiality concern pursuant” to federal ethics regulations. The relevant ethics regulations specify that even if there is no per se conflict of interest, “where the employee determines that the circumstances would cause a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts to question his impartiality in the matter, the employee should not participate in the matter...” The DAEO concluded that a reasonable person would question Chair Khan's partiality in the matter at hand, noting her “strong reservations with Chair Khan participating as an adjudicator in this proceeding.” 

The recent disclosure of the DAEO’s memorandum suggests that Chair Khan's response to Chair Rodgers during the recent subcommittee hearing omitted an important recommendation by the DAEO. It raises serious questions about Chair Khan’s commitment to the fair and impartial administration of the FTC’s authorities.  

CLICK HERE to read the full letter.