EXCLUSIVE: In a letter sent Monday to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan, Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz announced he would open an investigation into allegations of mismanagement and assault at the agency amid of allegations of a “toxic environment” from FTC employees.
“As a former Federal Trade Commission (‘FTC’) director of the Office of Policy Planning, I am troubled by recent reports of declining FTC employee morale and growing lack of confidence in FTC leadership,” Cruz wrote. in the letter Fox received. News digital. “Despite your promises to address the situation, the problem appears to be getting worse. I am therefore writing to inform you and FTC employees that the minority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (“Committee”) is opening an investigation into allegations of agency mismanagement and mistreatment of staffers.”
Cruz, the leading Republican on the committee, cited a 2022 Office of Personnel Management Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey released in January 2023 in which less than half of FTC employees agreed that leadership “demonstrates high standards of honesty and integrity maintained,” calling the data “disheartening.” Similarly, only 44% of FTC employees surveyed in 2022 said they had a “high level of respect” for senior leaders, the letter continued.
“Reporters who interviewed FTC staffers in June 2022 said they were ‘particularly emotional’ and ‘provoked a deep sadness and … a kind of angry sadness’ about recent changes at the FTC,” Cruz wrote.
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FTC employees stated in 2022 that they “felt marginalized and afraid to tell the power the truth, for fear of being left out for not being ‘on board’ Khan’s mission”, citing one specific employee as a “experienced staffer,” who said FTC leaders had “no regard for people’s quality of life and what they are dealing with,” the letter said. An undetermined number of employees also labeled the agency as a “toxic environment.”
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, right, accused Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan in a new letter, opening an investigation into the agency over allegations of mismanagement and mistreatment of FTC employees, with staffers agency called a “toxic environment”. “ (Saul Loeb/Pool/AFP via Getty Images | Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)
Cruz cited two possible explanations for a dip in morale, including “the FTC’s recent insistence on examining every merger filing, without prioritizing those likely to harm consumers, has unnecessarily ‘burdened’ staff unnecessarily” as well as ” the reported general ‘fear of reprisals and pressure for ideological loyalty.'” The senator also pointed to “‘a lack of managerial experience and expertise at the top.'”
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“Whatever the reason, the FTC cannot accomplish its mission to ‘protect the public from deceptive or unfair business practices and against unfair methods of competition’ with a demoralized and exhausted workforce,” Cruz wrote.
Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, the leading Republican on the committee, cited a 2022 Office of Personnel Management Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey released in January 2023 in which less than half of FTC employees agreed that leadership maintained “high standards of honesty and integrity,” calling the data “disheartening.” (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Cruz requested four different types of documents, all of which had to be delivered by July 3, 2023, including “the number of persons employed/full-time equivalents (“FTE”) by the FTC from January 1, 2021 to present, broken down by month,” the number of employees who have left the FTC since January 1, 2021, and “any actions the Chairwoman’s Office has taken to improve staff morale.”
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Lina Khan, Chair of the Federal Trade Commission, speaks at a House Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in Washington, DC, on May 18, 2022. (Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
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The FTC declined to comment to Fox News Digital.
Brianna Herlihy is a political writer for Fox News Digital.