Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department Issue Joint Statement to Preserve Competition in Post-Hurricane Relief Efforts

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The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today issued a joint statement detailing antitrust guidance for businesses taking part in relief efforts and those involved in rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Ida without violating the antitrust laws.

“When a disaster like Hurricane Ida strikes, it’s unconscionable for any company to exploit the tragedy for their own financial gain,” said Holly Vedova, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “We’re committed to working with our partners to crack down on abusive and illegal practices and protecting the people affected by the disaster so they can focus on recovering.”

“The Antitrust Division and its law enforcement partners will not tolerate businesses and individuals who prey upon hurricane victims or seek to corrupt relief efforts,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Richard A. Powers of the Antitrust Division. “In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, the division’s Procurement Collusion Strike Force will leverage every tool in its arsenal to root out collusion, corruption, and fraud targeting disaster relief.”

The antitrust laws accommodate procompetitive collaborations among competitors. At the same time, the agencies intend to hold accountable those who enter into anticompetitive agreements that take advantage of hurricane victims or hurricane relief efforts. Among other actions, the Department of Justice will criminally prosecute companies that fix prices, rig bids, or allocate customers, and the FTC will investigate and take action against companies and individuals who violate the consumer protection laws.

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