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Division Update Spring 2010 Photo of Christine Varney

Christine Varney

Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division

When I first arrived at the Department, I said that there is no substitute for a competitive marketplace. I also stressed the importance of vigorous antitrust enforcement so that American consumers and businesses can reap the benefits of an open and fair marketplace. Over the past year, the men and women of the Antitrust Division have worked tirelessly and effectively on all antitrust enforcement fronts—criminal, merger, and civil non-merger—to ensure that the marketplace remained competitive.

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Civil Program

The Division’s merger challenges have maintained competition in markets that directly affect U.S. consumers, such as healthcare, ticketing, and dairy. In the civil non-merger area, the Section 2 Report was withdrawn, and the Division took enforcement action to protect consumers against the effects of illegal agreements in various industries, including financial services and real estate.

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Criminal Program

In the last year, the Division continued its vigorous enforcement of the criminal antitrust laws by filing the greatest number of criminal cases since 1993 (72 cases against 65 individuals and 22 companies). The Division obtained more than $1 billion in criminal fines, the second highest amount of total fines obtained in a single year.

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Competition Advocacy and Policy

Stepping up its competition advocacy efforts with various programs and initiatives directed at strengthening markets and preserving economic freedom and fairness is one of the highest priorities of the Division. These efforts include extensive cooperation with federal agencies and our international competition partners, filing friend of the court briefs with the U.S. Supreme Court and appellate courts, and filing more detailed competitive impact statements.

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International Program

Bringing greater cooperation and convergence to international antitrust enforcement and improving transparency and procedural fairness is a top priority of Assistant Attorney General Varney. In an innovative move, the Division hired an accomplished antitrust lawyer in Europe and internationally to serve as a special advisor on international affairs.

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Publications and Speeches

The Economic Analysis Group (EAG) of the Antitrust Division, led by Deputy Assistant Attorney General Carl Shapiro and Director of Economic Enforcement Ken Heyer, has continued its mission to disseminate 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 on the Division’s EAG Discussion Papers page.

Additionally, a compendium of major speeches, including the May 11, 2009 withdrawal of the Section 2 Report, Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney’s remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations regarding single firm conduct, antitrust remedies, and procedural fairness, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Scott Hammond’s remarks to the National Institute on White Collar Crime regarding the evolution of criminal antitrust enforcement, and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Phil Weiser’s discussion of innovation, entrepreneurship, and the information age at the Silicon Flatirons conference are all available on the Division’s Speeches page.

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