Friday, March 07, 2008

Trade Regulation Tidbits

This posting was written by John W. Arden.

News, updates, and observations:

 Those pursuing corporate acquisitions and mergers should try to complete them before the November election, since such deals may draw more antitrust scrutiny from a prospective Democratic administration, according to the March 5 edition of the Wall Street Journal. In his “Business” column, George Anders writes that “Both Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton cranked up populist, anti-business themes in the just-finished Democratic primary battles in Ohio and Texas.” David Robbins of Bingham McCutchen remarked that either candidate “might take a more aggressive approach towards antitrust. Democrats traditionally are seen as more of the trustbusters than Republicans.” Clearing mergers and acquisitions may be difficult even if Republican John McCain is elected. “Mr. McCain is known for his willingness to break with party orthodoxies, particularly when it comes to business,” according to Anders. “On many issues, he has taken a harder line against corporations than President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress.”

 On March 5, the House Judiciary Antitrust Task Force approved a resolution to extend its term for an additional six months. The task force, which was established early last year, is designed to examine antitrust and competition matters. Unlike a subcommittee, the task force does not have legislative authority, but does have oversight authorization. The task force has held hearings on a number of issues, including the recommendations of the Antitrust Modernization Commission, rising gasoline prices, and railroad antitrust enforcement.

 President Bush, on February 15, signed into law two bills that make permanent the federal “do-not-call” registry for residential telephone subscribers who do not wish to receive telemarketing calls. Both bills (H.R. 3541, S. 781) require the Federal Trade Commission to issue reports to Congress on the accuracy and impact of the do-not-call registry. Further details regarding the bills appear in a February 7, 2008 posting on Trade Regulation Talk. The text of the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act appears at CCH Trade Regulation Reporter ¶27,670, CCH Advertising Law Guide ¶10,350, and CCH Privacy Law in Marketing ¶25,110.

 Judge Mark R. Filip of the federal district court in Chicago was confirmed as Deputy Attorney General by the U.S. Senate on March 3. As second-in-command to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, Filip will function as the Justice Department's Chief Operating Officer. Filip has served as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Northern District of Illinois since March 2004. He also teaches criminal procedure at the University of Chicago Law School. Filip will replace Acting Deputy Attorney General Craig Morford in the position.

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