George Soros and other liberal billionaires have given millions to antitrust groups whose alumni now fill crucial roles at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
FTC Chair Lina Khan was formerly the legal director at Open Markets Institute, an organization backed by George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s Omidyar Network and Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes’ Economic Security Project. Combined, the three billionaires have given at least $47 million to groups that aim to break up big tech companies, a goal Khan has aggressively pursued through lawsuits as FTC chair.
“Lina Khan likes to pretend that her crusade to rewrite antitrust law is a grassroots, David vs. Goliath movement,” Tom Hebert, director of competition and regulatory policy at Americans for Tax Reform, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “In reality, it is a well-coordinated operation funded by left-wing billionaires like George Soros, Pierre Omidyar, and Chris Hughes to push a woke social agenda.”
Hebert noted that Khan also used to work for the House Judiciary Committee, where she wrote bills “that massively empower the FTC.”
“Now, Khan runs the FTC, where staff widely view her as a tyrant and are fleeing in droves,” he said. “To fill the gap, Khan is tapping into the Soros/Omidyar/Hughes network of left-wing nonprofits to hire unpaid consultants that have a hand in agency policy.”
Sarah Miller, former executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project (AELP), an organization Hughes helped launch through the Economic Security Project’s investments, became a special adviser to Khan at the FTC in March. In 2021, AELP received $230,000 from the Omidyar Network, $125,500 from the Economic Security Project, and $500,000 from Open Society Foundations, according to grant databases and 990 forms. (RELATED: FTC Commissioner Announces Resignation, Cites Biden-Appointed Chair’s ‘Abuse Of Power’)
“Miller’s husband Faiz Shakir, former Bernie Sanders campaign manager, replaced Miller at AELP,” Hebert said.
Republicans began voicing concerns about Khan’s leadership and efforts to consolidate power at the FTC shortly after her appointment in June 2021.
FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson resigned in February out of concern for what she called Khan’s “abuses of government power,” arguing her work has torn down “the FTC’s rich bipartisan tradition.”
“I disagree with Ms. Khan’s policy goals but understand that elections have consequences,” Wilson wrote in a Wall Street Journal column. “My fundamental concern with her leadership of the commission pertains to her willful disregard of congressionally imposed limits on agency jurisdiction, her defiance of legal precedent, and her abuse of power to achieve desired outcomes.”
Facebook asked Khan in July 2021 to recuse herself from the FTC’s antitrust case against the company due to her previous work with Open Markets Institute and remarks she previously made in The New York Times calling Facebook’s acquisition strategy was intended to “lock up the market.”
The FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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