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October 7, 2015
WASHINGTON, DC, October 7, 2015 – Covington partner Deborah Garza testified on Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights in support of the proposed Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules Act (SMARTER Act) of 2015. The SMARTER Act is a draft bill that would equalize the merger enforcement authority of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice.
Under existing law, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice have concurrent jurisdiction to review proposed mergers and acquisitions. However, the two antitrust agencies face different standards in court and utilize different processes when reviewing these transactions. The SMARTER Act would eliminate the existing disparities between the two antitrust enforcement agencies and ensure that companies face the same standards and processes regardless of which federal agency reviews the merger. It would substantially implement recommendations made in 2007 by Congress’ bi-partisan Antitrust Modernization Commission (AMC).
“The premise of the SMARTER Act is simple: A merger should not be treated differently depending on which antitrust enforcement agency – DOJ or the FTC – happens to review it,” Ms. Garza testified. “Regulatory outcomes should not be determined by a flip of the merger agency coin.”
Ms. Garza currently serves as co-chair of Covington’s global competition law practice. She testified earlier this year before the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law in support of the re-introduced SMARTER Act, as well as in support of the Act’s prior version in 2014.
Ms. Garza’s testimony can be found here: http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/10-07-15%20Garza%20Testimony.pdf.