NPA Tells Senators: Don’t Expand FTC’s Authority

New legislation on the table seeks to inflate the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)’s authority, which some say is unnecessary and inappropriate. The FTC is the agency that deals with various aspects of consumer protection, including truth-in-advertising laws.

The new financial reform bill (passed by the House of Representatives, with another version being drafted in the Senate) will give the FTC the power to make and enforce new rules. For instance, the FTC could devise and implement more stringent rules for how online advertisers collect and use consumer data, according to a report published on

This kind of jurisdiction isn’t new; the FTC had such authority nearly 30 years ago, before Congress restricted it in 1975 under the Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act.

Many, including the Natural Products Association (NPA), feel the new legislation goes too far in granting the FTC such broad authority. The NPA joined with 40 other trade associations to send Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) a letter voicing their opposition to H.R. 4173. The group felt that if enacted, the FTC could “act as an unelected legislature, governing industries and sectors that had nothing to do with the financial crisis.” The letter, dated April 22, also urged the Senate to focus on restructuring the financial system rather than changing the FTC’s authority.

Published in WholeFoods Magazine, June 2010

**UPDATE on Expanded FTC Enforcement: More Action Needed