In most areas of federal law enforcement, a single agency has jurisdiction. For antitrust, however, there are two: the Federal Trade Commission and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice. Both agencies have similar mandates to protect consumers by ensuring competitive markets, but there are important differences, especially in health care enforcement.
Federal antitrust enforcement has resided in the DOJ since the enactment of the Sherman Act in 1890. The DOJ is part of the executive branch, and the assistant attorney general for antitrust is a political appointee who must be confirmed by the Senate. With rare exceptions, AAGs are experienced antitrust practitioners. Enforcement actions are brought in federal court.
The above excerpt was originally published in Trustee magazine.
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