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Division Update Spring 2011 Photo of Christine Varney

Christine Varney

Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division

The Division’s civil and criminal enforcement programs remained active during the past year, including through ongoing legal challenges to anticompetitive conduct, challenges and tailored resolutions to anticompetitive aspects of mergers, and the imposition of fines and jail sentences for anticompetitive schemes. The Division also engaged in competition advocacy efforts in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, health care, and patent and trademark.

Among the Division’s priorities is continued intergovernmental collaboration throughout the Federal government, as well as with State Attorneys General and our international antitrust colleagues. Collaboration that provides clear, consistent, and transparent enforcement benefits consumers and the business community worldwide.

The realization of this priority is highlighted throughout this year’s newsletter and includes criminal enforcement in the financial market, civil enforcement in the health care, media, and transportation sectors, and competition advocacy in those and other areas.

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Civil Program

Under the leadership of Assistant Attorney General Varney, the Antitrust Division has continued to aggressively protect consumers through our civil enforcement program. In the last year, the Division filed its first unilateral conduct case arising solely under Section 2 of the Sherman Act since 1999.

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Criminal Program

Criminal enforcement continues to be a top priority of the Antitrust Division. Companies participating in cartels paid hefty fines, and corporate executives who participate in cartels again faced significant jail sentences this year. During FY 2010, the Division filed 60 cases against 63 individuals and 21 companies.

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Competition Advocacy and Policy

One of the Antitrust Division’s key roles is to act as an advocate for competition. Indeed, promoting competition principles through broad advocacy efforts and outreach is among the Antitrust Division’s highest priorities. The Division pursues competition advocacy on a number of national and international fronts.

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International Program

Since taking office in 2009, Assistant Attorney General Varney has made international issues a top priority. Together with Rachel Brandenburger, her Special Advisor for International Matters, Assistant Attorney General Varney has strived to more fully integrate the consideration of international issues into the Antitrust Division’s day-to-day case and policy work.

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Publications and Speeches

The Division publishes speeches, policy statements, and other documents in order to provide clear guidance as to the legal and economic analytical framework under which it operates. This provides for more predictable antitrust enforcement and benefits business and consumers alike. Recent speeches include Assistant Attorney General Varney’s December 8, 2010, Joint DOJ and USDA Agriculture Workshops: Concluding Remarks, October 7, 2010, Overview of 2010 Antitrust Enforcement, and September 21, 2010, International Cooperation: Preparing for the Future remarks, as well as Deputy Assistant Attorney General Sharis Pozen’s December 21, 2010, testimony before the Senate Judiciary on Antitrust Laws and Their Effects on Healthcare Providers, Insurers, and Patients.

In addition, the Economic Analysis Group (EAG) of the Antitrust Division disseminates research to inform interested individuals and institutions of EAG’s research program and to stimulate comment on economic issues related to antitrust policy and regulation. A full listing of those documents is available from the Economic Analysis Group Papers page.

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Contacts

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