Big Tech critic Lina Khan will chair the Federal Trade Commission, the powerful antitrust agency that’s targeted companies such as Facebook with fines and lawsuits, according to a White House spokesperson.
Khan had been confirmed as a commissioner to the FTC earlier on Tuesday, in a 69-28 Senate vote. But her future as agency chair was let slip by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, seemingly ahead of schedule, during a Senate antitrust subcommittee hearing Tuesday afternoon dealing with Amazon and Google’s dominance in smart home technology.
Klobuchar quickly acknowledged that Biden’s decision to name Khan as FTC chair had not yet been officially announced.
A White House spokesperson then confirmed to CNN that Khan would serve as the agency chair.
The FTC declined to comment.
Khan made waves in 2017 as she published a paper in the Yale Law Journal highlighting antitrust issues with Amazon. The paper inspired a push by some advocates and policymakers to increase US antitrust enforcement, particularly against tech companies.
Last year, Khan helped lead a House Judiciary antitrust probe of the tech industry, an investigation that produced a massive report accusing Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google of abusing their dominance in a range of markets. House lawmakers have since proposed five bills based on the report’s recommendations that seek to rein in Big Tech and, in some cases, require them to break up their businesses.
Elevating Khan to FTC chair signals the Biden administration’s support for an aggressive antitrust agenda, particularly on tech.