REVEALED: A quarter of Federal Trade Commission officials own or trade stocks...• https://www.dailymail.co, By KEITH GRIFFITH
Many top officials at the Federal Trade Commission also invest in some of the biggest companies that the agency regulates, according to a new report.
From 2016 to 2021, roughly a third of 90 senior officials FTC owned or traded stock in companies that were undergoing an FTC merger review or investigation, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of financial disclosures on Thursday.
Additionally, a quarter of the top officials were invested in big tech companies such as Amazon, Alphabet and Meta, even as the sector came under heavy regulatory scrutiny over potential antitrust concerns.
One former FTC chairman, Joseph Simons, owned shares of Microsoft, Oracle and AT&T even while agency investigated the tech and telco sectors, the report said.
The FTC and the officials named in the report said all of their stock trades followed the law, as well as ethics rules for federal employees, and they have not been accused of wrongdoing.
However, the report raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest at the agency, which is charged with protecting American consumers from monopolies, economic cartels, and shady business practices.
Kent Cooper, a former government official and expert on ethics issues, told the Journal that although the officials' stock trades are in legal compliance, even the appearance of a conflict 'hurts the reputation of the agency and the government in general.'