The Soft Power Of Congress To Challenge MergersAugust 1, 2017
On July 13, a Rhode Island congressman published a letter he sent to the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee requesting that the committee hold a hearing on the recently announced Amazon/Whole Foods merger. When and why does Congress hold hearings on particular mergers and what power does Congress have to stop a merger?
On paper, the separation of powers is self-evident. Congress has no institutional responsibility to enforce the antitrust laws. Its main role in this arena is to enact antitrust legislation. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission enforce that legislation and the federal judiciary adjudicates challenges to mergers brought under the antitrust laws.
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