Motion to set aside an order in its entirety:
- In the matter of British American Tobacco p.l.c.; Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, American Brands, Inc. and The American Tobacco Company, the Commission has voted to set aside the order (issued on April 19, 1995) in its entirety.
The Commission vote to set aside the order was 4-0; (FTC Docket No. DO9271; see For Your Information: Announced Actions for May 25, 1999; staff contact is Daniel Ducore, 202-326-2526).
Miscellaneous matters in the Office of the General Counsel:
The Commission has voted to approve a motion that the FTC publish a Federal Register notice amending Commission Rules 2.34 and 3.25.
The rule amendments, which will be published shortly, will streamline the process of providing effective relief where parties consent to the entry of a cease and desist order by shortening the period for public comment on such orders from 60 to 30 days. The amended rules will also provide for more effective relief in cases involving mergers and acquisitions by providing that hold separate or asset maintenance orders be made immediately effective when the Commission accepts the consent agreement or settlement proposal for public comment.
The rule amendments will become effective on the date of publication in the Federal Register. Written comments on the rule revisions must be submitted to the Office of the Secretary, Room 159, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Comments must be received within 30 days of when the amendments are published in the Federal Register.
The Commission vote to approve the motion was 4-0 (FTC File No. P859907).
Commissioner Orson Swindle issued a separate statement on this matter. Although in his view "shortening the comment period to 30 days achieves a sensible balance between forestalling violations of Commission orders and affording the public sufficient time to comment on Commission settlements," Commissioner Swindle "would have preferred to subject these rule revisions to advance public comment, rather than . . . issuing them as final rules with a request for comments after the fact.
Whatever my judgment (and that of my colleagues) concerning whether the revisions are prudent and in the public interest, I would have thought we would also try to appraise the judgment of the public -- those for whom we in government work, and to whom we are ultimately accountable -- before issuing a final rule that halves the comment period on consent agreements. . . . [T]he Commission has decided to allow 30 days for public comment after these final rules have been published in the Federal Register. I fear that this is not an adequate surrogate for the advance comment that we should have solicited. Once something such as an order or a rule revision is issued "in final," it is often a fait accompli that is unlikely to be undone even in the face of inexorable logic. We should have invited public participation before taking these steps."
Consumer education reminder:
- With the recent major earthquake in Turkey, relief organizations will likely be contacting consumers requesting contributions and/or charitable donations. The FTC's Office of Consumer & Business Education wishes to remind consumers that while most of these organizations are legitimate and dedicated to helping in the relief effort, they should be wary when responding either to unsolicited requests or requests from organizations they do not know.
Charitable Donations: Give or Take offers tips to help consumers give wisely and reduce the risk of being victimized by deceptive solicitations. The free brochure is available on the Commission's Web site (www.ftc.gov) or by calling the Consumer Response Center (CRC) toll-free at 877-FTC-HELP. Consumers can also request the free bookmark, Dialing for Dollars: When Fund-raisers Call, by contacting the CRC.
Copies of the documents mentioned in this FYI are available from the FTC's web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357); TDD for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest news as it is announced, call the FTC NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710.