FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan testifies during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce titled “Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission” in the Rayburn Building on Tuesday, April 18, 2023.

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WASHINGTON – Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan has refused to recuse herself from the agency’s lawsuit against Meta Platforms against the advice of the agency’s top officials. internal FTC documents published Bloomberg News.

An ethics official recommended that Khan remove herself from scrutiny of Facebook parent Meta’s proposed merger with virtual reality fitness service Within Limited in 2022 to “avoid the appearance of bias”.

“From a federal ethics standpoint, I have strong reservations about Chairwoman Khan serving as a juror in this proceeding where—quite recently, before joining the Commission—she repeatedly called on the FTC to block any future acquisition by Facebook,” Lorielle Pankey, and appointed ethics officer, wrote in an August 2022 report.

The FTC did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

Pankey added that Khan’s decision to decide the case “is not itself a violation of federal ethics.” The FTC defended Khan’s involvement in the case, and the agency’s Democratic majority approved its decision over the objections of former Republican commissioner Christine Wilson, Bloomberg reported.

Wilson resigned earlier this year.

Khan’s perceived opposition to Meta’s acquisitions prompted the company’s request to exclude its participation in the case. FTC blocked Meta’s petition in February, although a federal judge allowed the acquisition to proceed.

The The FTC sued the tech firm to block the Within Limited merger in July 2022. FTC Competition Bureau Deputy Director John Newman accused Met of “trying to buy its way to the top” through an “illegal acquisition”.

In her disagree from the rejection decision, Wilson, who Khan snapped in his resignation letter, he claimed that the head of the FTC had made “express statements that Meta’s transactions are illegal” in 2017.

Read the full Bloomberg report here.

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