Objective 4.1: Reinvigorate Antitrust Enforcement and Protect Consumers
Antitrust and consumer protection laws are the charter of our economic liberty. The Department is committed to the vigorous enforcement of these laws. Robust enforcement ensures that all businesses play by the same rules and that Americans can compete and thrive. The Department will examine and prevent harmful mergers and will partner with other agencies to promote competition. In addition, the Department is committed to using criminal, civil, and administrative actions to protect consumers. The Department will work to ensure the safety of food, medicines, and consumer products, and will safeguard consumer information from unlawful acquisition and use. Using our full array of civil and criminal enforcement tools, we will hold accountable those who make fraudulent or misleading representations in the marketing of goods, especially where such conduct risks consumer harm.
Strategy 1: Investigate and Prosecute Violations of the Antitrust Laws
Corporate consolidation is occurring at a breakneck pace and technological changes continue to transform how consumers interact with companies and each other. The use of anticompetitive agreements and practices to unduly expand market dominance or consummate mergers that eliminate competitors or harm competition results in higher prices, lower wages, fewer products, and more harmful products, all of which impose burdens on the American public.
The Justice Department will aggressively enforce antitrust laws both by actively investigating and prosecuting the full range of anticompetitive practices across many sectors of the economy and by identifying gaps in our current legal system. This includes deterring, detecting, investigating, and prosecuting antitrust and related crimes that affect government procurement and the labor markets, and identifying where supply chain disruptions are used as cover for unlawful collusive conduct. The Department will also engage with state Attorneys General, the Federal Trade Commission, other federal agencies, and international enforcers to strengthen relationships and promote collaboration in maintaining free and competitive marketplaces and protecting consumers. The Department will also continue to participate in and support the President’s July 9, 2021, Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, including working collaboratively with other agencies as part of a “whole of government” approach to antitrust enforcement.
Strategy 2: Promote Competitive Markets
The Department will bring criminal and civil actions to prevent individuals and entities from gaining unfair advantage through fraudulent or deceptive conduct, including market manipulation and insider trading. We will also protect the interests of all stakeholders in the bankruptcy process by advocating for strict, equitable compliance with the law and by promoting management and professional accountability in business reorganization cases.
Strategy 3: Reinvigorate Consumer Protection
The Department, in partnership with other agencies and foreign, state, and Tribal governments, will also advance criminal and civil actions under consumer protection laws. We will not tolerate the defrauding and obstruction of scientific and consumer protection agencies, which can jeopardize public trust in their important work. And we will protect the public from phone and email scammers and unscrupulous tax preparers.
Key Performance Indicators:
- Number of active civil non-merger investigations
- Percent of Consumer Protection Branch cases favorably resolved
Contributing DOJ Components: ATR, CIV, CRM, TAX, USAO, USTP, FBI