Coalition Letter: Request for Investigation of the FTC’s Practice of Counting “Zombie Votes”
In light of the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) reliance on "zombie votes" cast months ago via email by the current director of the CFPB, today we led a coalition of more than two dozen in sending a letter to lawmakers and the agency's Inspector General requesting an investigation.
December 2, 2021
Andrew Katsaros Inspector General, Federal Trade Commission
The Honorable Maria Cantwell Chair, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation The Honorable Roger Wicker Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation The Honorable Gary C. Peters Chair, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs The Honorable Rob Portman Ranking Member, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs The Honorable Frank Pallone Chair, House Committee on Energy and Commerce The Honorable Cathy McMorris Rodgers Ranking Member, House Committee on Energy and Commerce
The Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney Chair, House Committee on Oversight and Reform The Honorable James Comer Ranking Member, House Committee on Oversight and Reform
Re: Request for Investigation of the Federal Trade Commission’s Practice of Counting “Zombie Votes” Dear Inspector General Katsaros; Senators Cantwell, Peters, Wicker and Portman; and Representatives Pallone, Rodgers, Maloney, and Comer,
We, the undersigned, write to you regarding the Federal Trade Commission’s use of votes cast by departed-Commissioner Rohit Chopra by e-mail from October 1, 2021 to October 8, 2021. We request an investigation into both this practice and the Commission’s lack of transparency. Nearly one month ago, Politico reported that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) held on to “as many as 20 votes that former Democratic Commissioner Rohit Chopra cast by email on Oct. 8—his last day at the agency—that remain active even after his departure.” The FTC claims that former-Commissioner Chopra’s votes continued to be valid two months after Chopra’s departure from the FTC following his Sept. 30, 2021 confirmation by the U.S. Senate to become Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). To date, the entirety of the votes, the underlying proposals, and the legal basis from which the FTC apparently derives this authority—beyond compliance with the FTC’s previously unknown internal voting rules—remain unclear and undisclosed to the public. Using the votes of Commissioners who have departed from their roles at the FTC and concealing it from the public raises serious concerns regarding transparency and accountability. We therefore seek an investigation to determine the following: 1.) the legal basis for this practice, beyond compliance with internal voting rules; 2.) whether the practice has previously been used, when it was used, and, specifically, if it has been used to break ties; and 3.) information relating to each of the underlying proposals, votes, and relevant motions as well as the FTC's rationale for concealing these specific matters from public disclosure. Thank you for your attention to this matter. Sincerely,
Ashley Baker Director of Public Policy The Committee for Justice Brandon Arnold Executive Vice President National Taxpayers Union Saulius “Saul” Anuzis President 60 Plus Association Robert H. Bork, Jr. President The Bork Foundation Ralph Benko Chairman The Capitalist League Garrett Bess Vice President Heritage Action Adam Brandon President FreedomWorks Maureen Blum President Strategic Coalitions & Initiatives James Edwards Executive Director Conservatives for Property Rights Theodore A. Gebhard Former Senior FTC Attorney Office of Policy & Evaluation Tom Hebert Executive Director Open Competition Center Curt Levey President The Committee for Justice James L. Martin Founder/Chairman 60 Plus Association Katie McAuliffe Executive Director Digital Liberty Iain Murray Vice President and Senior Fellow Competitive Enterprise Institute Richard Manning President Americans for Limited Government Doug McCullough Director Lone Star Policy Institute Jessica Melugin Director, Center for Technology and Innovation Competitive Enterprise Institute Seton Motley President Less Government Grover Norquist President Americans for Tax Reform Yaël Ossowski Deputy Director Consumer Choice Center Krisztina Pusok Director American Consumer Institute Timothy Sandefur Vice President for Litigation Goldwater Institute Tom Schatz President Council for Citizens Against Government Waste Dan Schneider Executive Vice President The American Conservative Union David Williams President Taxpayers Protection Alliance
NOTE: Organizations listed for identification purposes only.
See Leah Nylan. “‘Zombies’ to the rescue: The arcane voting rule that could save Dems’ antitrust agenda.” Politico. (November 8, 2021), available at: https://www.politico.com/news/2021/11/08/voting-rule-democrats-antitrust-519767. Id.