Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, lambasted the Biden administration’s Federal Trade Commission for allegedly obstructing GOP House oversight, and is now seeking additional communications suggesting progressive activists aligned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., threatened a senior official to fall in “lockstep” with FTC Chair Lina Khan out of concern for “optics.”
Fox News Digital obtained two letters that Jordan sent Friday, as chair of the House Judiciary Committee, one to Khan, the other to FTC Commissioner Alvaro Bedoya.
In the first, Jordan responded to a letter Khan sent earlier in the week accusing the Republican of launching a “campaign to intimidate and harass” career agency staff by threatening to subpoena FTC employees. Jordan, in turn, accused Khan of “repeated efforts to chill the Committee’s oversight by lodging frivolous accusations of ethical violations against the Committee’s professional staff and grossly mischaracterizing the Committee’s actions.”
“The accusations in your recent letter are baseless and legally deficient,” Jordan wrote. “The oversight you are blocking concerns your mistreatment and mismanagement of career FTC employees, and your unusual response to this oversight, forces us to examine whether you and your senior staff are attempting to obstruct the Committee’s oversight to prevent potential embarrassment. This concerted effort to obstruct the Committee’s oversight must stop.”
Jordan said Khan and her senior staff are attempting to obstruct the committee’s oversight into the FTC.
“The Committee requires testimony from the FTC employees we have previously identified. Up to this point, you have baselessly refused to make these non-SES employees available, despite the Committee’s repeated efforts to accommodate the FTC’s interests. Your continued refusal to make these employees available will force the Committee to compel this testimony,” Jordan warned.
The Republican demanded Khan provide all documents and communications referring or relating to “the committee’s requests for transcribed interviews with FTC employees” as well as “the FTC’s response to the Committee’s oversight of allegations of poor staff morale, mismanagement, and a toxic work environment within the FTC” no later than 5 p.m. on Aug. 11.
He also reminded Khan that “every federal employee has a right to speak freely with Congress without interference from his or her employer,” noting how each annual appropriations bill states that a salary of a federal employee may be withheld for threatening agency staffers from coming forward.
In the letter to Bedoya, Jordan argues that “recent disclosures of ex parte communications – including communications from your cell phone and email account – suggest there was an attempt to compromise your work as a commissioner.”
The Republican cites emails that could suggest progressive activists outside the FTC and aligned with Warren pressured Bedoya to continue “in lockstep” with Khan.
Two of such activists named were Dan Geldon, Warren’s former chief of staff, and Progressive Change Campaign Committee co-founder Adam Green.
Geldon allegedly spoke “about backing Lina” on certain matters in exchange for support during Bedoya’s confirmation.
Jordan asked Bedoya to provide copies of all sworn statements related to FTC ethics and communications between him and his staff with Geldon and Green’s agents also by Aug. 11.
“Although your cover letter revealing the ex parte communications says that you made no such representations, at a minimum the documents suggest a pre-existing relationship such that Mr. Geldon felt free to threaten you about your decisions as a Commissioner and remind you of a supposed discussion about the importance of following Chair Khan’s lead,” Jordan wrote. “Mr. Green likewise felt at liberty to remind you of the importance that optics of being aligned with Chair Kahn, and that you need to be a strong supporter of her. In short, these ex parte communications raise a potential appearance of partiality and prejudgment in any number of matters before the Commission.”
“Unfortunately, this episode is just one of the more recent examples of a pattern of concerning behavior and decision-making at Chair Khan’s FTC,” Jordan said. “Recent reporting revealed that Chair Khan declined to follow an ethics recommendation from the FTC’s Designated Agency Ethics Official (DAEO). You supported Chair Khan in her decision in that matter – a stance that may take on more significance given your ex parte communications regarding the importance that activists outside the FTC place in your being aligned in lockstep with Chair Khan and the need to ‘play a strong role alongside Lina Khan.’”
Reached by Fox News Digital, the FTC confirmed receipt of the letters but declined to comment. Warren’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.