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Under Chair Lina Khan, the Federal Trade Commission has taken a more skeptical view of mergers.

An Agitator Disrupts an Antitrust Garden Party

By  |  April 12, 2022 7:00 AM PDT
Photo: Under Chair Lina Khan, the Federal Trade Commission has taken a more skeptical view of mergers.

The American Bar Association’s annual antitrust conference is typically a pretty staid affair where lawyers share gossip, drinks and tips on how to better defend their clients. Then, last Thursday, Barry Lynn disrupted the peace.

Lynn, executive director of antimonopoly group Open Markets Institute, rattled off a list of social ills, including outsized influence of tech companies, environmental problems and wealth inequality, for which he told attendees during a panel discussion that they are partially responsible. “This is all—to a great degree—your doing. It is your doing because you conspired to use a false science, an idiot science, to blind the law to dangerous concentrations of power, to blind the citizenry to the fist of monopoly.”

It was an extraordinary moment at an event long known for what some would say is an improperly cozy relationship between corporate America and its government overseers. And it was not what most of the nearly 2,800 attendees were expecting at a conference held in person for the first time since 2019.

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