‘Noisy Exit’ | Last Republican Leaves FTC

FTC building | Image by DCStockPhotography

In a surprise move, the last Republican appointee to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) resigned after publishing a scathing op-ed accusing the chair of abuses of power.

Christine Wilson, appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2018, announced her resignation in a February 14 piece in The Wall Street Journal (WSJ). Wilson became the sole Republican appointee on the five-person governing board after fellow Trump appointee Noah Phillips resigned in 2022.

The FTC is tasked with enforcing antitrust laws and consumer protection.

Alleging that the FTC’s current chair, Biden appointee Lina Khan, is attempting to “remake federal antitrust law” unilaterally, Wilson said she will resign to avoid lending “any further hint of legitimacy” to these efforts.

Wilson asserts in her op-ed that Khan has “consolidated power within the Office of the Chairman, breaking decades of bipartisan precedent and undermining the commission structure that Congress wrote into law.”

The outgoing commissioner pointed to a recent matter before the FTC involving Meta’s proposed acquisition of Within, a virtual reality gaming company, as illustrative of Khan’s lack of respect for the law and the norms of the agency.

Khan, she alleges in the WSJ, had publicly argued before her appointment to the FTC that Meta should be “blocked from making any future acquisitions.”

When the matter of the Within acquisition came before the FTC, Khan allegedly refused to recuse herself despite Wilson raising both due process and ethics concerns regarding her continued involvement.

Wilson claims that her objections were overruled by the other members of the FTC — all Democrat appointees — and that her formal dissent to their decision was heavily redacted by her colleagues to cover up the validity of her arguments.

“Commission opinions commonly use redactions to prevent disclosure of confidential business information, but my opinion contained no such information,” she wrote in her op-ed. “The redactions served no purpose but to protect Ms. Khan from embarrassment.”

Wilson also pointed to internal FTC employee surveys in which only 49% agreed that “senior agency officials maintain high standards of honesty and integrity,” which is down from 87% in 2020, as evidence of Khan’s alleged willingness to bend rules to produce her desired outcomes.

Among the actions most alarming to Wilson was a November 2022 policy the FTC instituted that she says ignores “decades of court rulings” and allows “three unelected commissioners” to “condemn essentially any business conduct” they find distasteful.

These commissioners could label a business’s conduct “coercive,” “exploitative,” “abusive,” or “restrictive” and put it in the crosshairs of the FTC Act of 1914, subjecting the company to potential punitive actions by the government.

But Wilson argues that these terms exist nowhere in federal law and previously sanctioned business conduct may now become illegal based only on the opinion of a majority of the FTC.

“The new policy adopts an ‘I know it when I see it’ approach. But due process demands that the lines between lawful and unlawful conduct be clearly drawn, to guide businesses before they face a lawsuit,” Wilson argued.

The Democrat members of the FTC released a joint statement on Wilson’s public resignation, stating, “While we often disagreed with Commissioner Wilson, we respect her devotion to her beliefs and are grateful for her public service. We wish her well in her next endeavor.”

Some legislators, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) defended Khan’s record in response to Wilson’s announcement, according to The Washington Post. Others, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), argued that Wilson should have remained on the commission.

“If you believe in what you’re doing, you ought to stay there and fight,” said Grassley, according to The Washington Post.

Outlining how she has previously advised clients in her capacity as a lawyer to “leave quickly” if discussions with competitors ever bordered on price-fixing or other illegal activities, Wilson wrote, “I must follow my own advice and resign in the face of continuing lawlessness. Consider this my noisy exit.”

Support our non-profit journalism


  1. Maria Chadwell

    It is unsettling that the FTC would have the power to implement price fix on anything. It is unsettling that the FTC is on the verge of implementing Woke agenda policies. Americans are not safe.

  2. David

    If a person stays on in light of borderline illegal practices, that, in its self can be construed as “agreeing” with those questionable policies being instituted by unethical policies.

  3. ThisGuyisTom

    In any Federal Agency, if a person does not align with the upper executives’ politically bias narrative, they will be marginalized.

    The EPA is one example regarding chemical toxins. EPA scientists who backed hard science were marginalized because the scientific literature went against the official narrative of EPA administrators.

  4. Pap

    In an instance like this, where the board is appointed, it should be law that at least 2 of the 5 must be Republicans. After all, this is to protect Americans and all need to be represented fairly. But being fair is alien to democrats.

    • W T

      I’ll use your same broad brush, after cleaning off your paint, and say, “…being fair is alien to republicans”.

  5. JNW

    This is just another example of the Democrats’ efforts to create a one party system in this country. They want total control and total power. Those who buy into that will soon learn they are under total control also. By the time this becomes obvious it is too late … like jumping out of an airplane with a backpack rather than a parachute.

  6. Bill

    Prior to becoming head of the FTC, Khan was an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. Not exactly a glowing resume for being head of the FTC but thats who this administration is.Wake up America.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article