The role of the Justice Dept. in enforcement of the Robinson-Patman Act, a federal statute, is absolutely none at all. This is by determination of the Justice Department, which has a policy of not looking into any claims or allegations of violation of the Robinson-Patman Act. Any such claims or allegations reaching the Justice Department are immediately turned over to a sister agency, the Federal Trade Commission, which is a sister agency in the fact that it can be expected to do nothing, as well.
Although the Robinson-Patman Act is being violated by many major corporations, the FTC has done virtually nothing to stop these violations of law, violations which are ruining small business and favoring the superstores.
It is not the fault of a specific employee of the FTC. They are not allowed to act by themselves. The FTC employees have to await orders from the five members of the FTC which controls what the FTC does and does not do.
As long as the politicians appoint members who are not in favor of enforcing the nation's antitrust laws, there will be no governmental enforcement, and the only hope is with private enforcement.
As an example of FTC enforcement activities, the FTC brought a proceeding against many publishers in the book publishing industry and deterred others (just by the existence of such suit) for a total of about 20 years from bringing any private actions for relief), and then in 1996 dropped the whole suit, at a time when the concentration in the bookstore industry has never been greater, and the level of price discrimination is at its high.
It is obvious that the concentration and price/service discrimination has growth in the book selling industry, and numerous other industries, as a matter of FTC/Justice Dept. approval and desire, while pretending to the public that these two agencies have been trying to enforce these laws. They are not doing anything and the country would be better off if they were forbidden from doing anything relating to antitrust law enforcement.
Failure of these government agencies to be involved in an antitrust matter is almost a signal to the federal courts that the private litigation should be thrown out. If the FTC and Justice Department were forbidden from being involved in antitrust matters, at least the courts and public would know that the only hope is through private litigation. As it is now, the courts and public are unaware that the government has abandoned enforcement and is working instead to find ways to help big business expand their activities of violation the antitrust laws.
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