FTC Commissioners Send Letter to House Transportation Committee on Legislative Action to Transfer FTC Building to National Gallery of Art

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The five Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission sent the following letter to members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in response to legislative action by the Committee to transfer the historic FTC Building to the National Gallery of Art.

The Honorable John L. Mica
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Nick Rahall
Ranking Member
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Mica and Ranking Member Rahall:

As the bipartisan Commissioners of the Federal Trade Commission, we write to
state respectfully our strong opposition to efforts to remove the FTC from the historic
FTC Building to transfer it to the National Gallery of Art. Forcing the FTC out of its
federally-owned headquarters would displace our agency from a building that it has
continuously occupied since it was designed and built for us over 70 years ago. Since
1938, the FTC Building, located at 600 Pennsylvania, NW, in Washington, D.C., has
served as the FTC's headquarters, housing management, administrative, and
adjudicative functions. The building is currently home to approximately 700 people who
support the FTC's missions of protecting American consumers and maintaining
competition in the American marketplace.

More critically, a forced move of the FTC could impose additional costs on the
American taxpayer from the need to replicate important functions of the FTC Building in
a new building. As major examples, the FTC would have to build new courtrooms for
conducting adjudications as well as replace its extensive information technology
infrastructure, including infrastructure for tracking, investigating, and fighting online and
offline fraud.

Yet another significant cost could be for securing more space for the federal
government. This would include finding new space for a federal agency that might be
displaced by the FTC's move into a building that the other agency occupies or plans to
occupy. And the taxpayers would still have to pay for the maintenance of the FTC
Building. While we understand that the National Gallery's existing buildings were paid
for with private funds, monies are appropriated annually for the National Gallery's
operation and maintenance. Thus, even if the National Gallery were to use private
funds to remodel the FTC Building for its own use, taxpayers apparently would be
responsible for maintenance and operations of yet another National Gallery building (the
FTC Building, which the legislation proposes to rename National Gallery of Art-North).

In addition, it is not clear to us the impact of the proposed legislation on historic
preservation. The FTC Building is part of the Pennsylvania Avenue National Historic
Site, which is registered under the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. As such,
the building's exterior and countless features of its interior are protected by that Act and
its procedures. This includes the building's iconic man and horse statues, entitled "Man
Controlling Trade."

When laying the cornerstone for the FTC building in 1937, President Franklin
Roosevelt said "[m]ay this permanent home of the Federal Trade Commission stand for
all time as a symbol of the purpose of the Government to insist on a greater application
of the Golden Rule to the conduct of corporations and business enterprises in the
relationship to the body politic." It is our hope that the building's dedicated purpose can
continue to be honored.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.


Jon Leibowitz

William E. Kovacic

Thomas Rosch

Edith Ramirez

Julie Brill

cc: Members of the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
United States House of Representatives

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