The Division’s organizational roots can be traced to the creation of an Assistant to the Attorney General in March 1903 to take charge of all suits under the antitrust and interstate commerce laws and to assist the Attorney General and the Solicitor General in the conduct of the general executive work of the Department. The post was created under President Theodore Roosevelt and Attorney General Philander Knox. With the growth of the economy and of corporate enterprise, it became evident that the Department of Justice must have its own corps of specialists in antitrust law to cope with an increasingly complex enforcement situation. Consequently, in 1933 under the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Attorney General Homer S. Cummings, the Antitrust Division was established.
The mission of the Antitrust Division is to promote competition in the U.S. economy through enforcement of, improvements to, and education about antitrust laws and principles.
The major functions of the Division are to:
- Seek to prevent or terminate private anti-competitive conduct which is subject to criminal and civil action under the Sherman and Clayton Acts and related statutes that prohibit conspiracies in restraint of trade, monopolization, and anti-competitive mergers.
- Review proposed mergers and acquisitions to assess their competitive effect and challenge those that threaten to harm competition.
- Investigate and prosecute violations of criminal law that affect the integrity of the investigatory process, and enforce various criminal statutes related to Sherman Act violations.
- Investigate possible violations of the federal antitrust laws, conduct grand jury proceedings, issue and enforce civil investigative demands, and handle all litigation that arises out of these criminal and civil investigations.
- Develop and present legislative proposals of the Department relating to the antitrust laws and competition generally and respond to requests for advice and comments on such matters from Congress and from other agencies.
- Through participation in the executive branch, regulatory and legislative processes, seek to ensure that government action is pro-competitive or not unnecessarily anti-competitive.
- Assemble information and prepare reports required or requested by the Congress or the Attorney General as to the effect upon the maintenance and preservation of competition under the free enterprise system of various federal laws or programs.
- Advise the President and the departments and agencies of the executive branch on the competitive implications of governmental action.
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