Its About Time: Debate Over Statute of Limitations Holds up FTC Bill in Congress

So a while back we reported on the big Supreme Court decision in AMG Capital that stripped the FTC of the power to pursue disgorgement of fraudulently obtained profits. As we explained at the time, the Supreme Court had unanimously concluded Congress has never given the FTC the ability to seek such remedies. So, if the FTC wanted to recoup money stolen from consumers by scam artists, Congress would have to Act.

Adherents to TCPAWorld will recall similar “take it up with Congress” rulings in Facebook and Hunstein but AMG Capital seemed to be the ruling that might actually merit prompt Congressional action.

But it appears the two parties can’t see eye to eye on the proper response to the Supreme Court’s ruling, and I’m ever so surprised. (Unrelated, I’m pretty sure political parties are unconstitutional.)

So here’s the deal. The Democratic-controlled House Commerce Committee voted 30-22 (party-line) to advance a bill giving the FTC back its 13(b) power last month. The bill would include a 10-year statute of limitations. But House Republicans are apparently seeking only a five-year window. And the bill is stuck until the parties figure this out.

Democracy inaction folks.

That said, I’m fine with the FTC being grounded for a bit. While the FTC usually does a nice job protecting consumers it is important for agencies to abide their statutory authority and a little time in the penalty box appears warranted here (IMO).

So will Congress solve the 5 vs 10 debate or will scam artists get to go on pocketing their profits? Stay tuned…

Obviously all of this will figure prominently in the CID workshop portion of the big Compliance Palooza next month. I assume its sold out already but you can always email Rob and check.

We’ll keep an eye on this.



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