Jim Jordan questions FTC chief over ex-employer's call for agency to block Musk's Twitter acquisition

Ohio congressman asked whether Lina Khan has taken action to stop deal as her former employer requested

Rep. Jim Jordan is demanding answers from Federal Trade Commission chief Lina Khan, after the chairwoman's former employer called for her agency to block Elon Musk's purchase of Twitter.

"The day after Twitter’s board of directors agreed to sell Twitter to Mr. Elon Musk, the Open Markets Institute (OMI), an extreme left-wing political advocacy organization, called on Biden regulators at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the Justice Department to ‘block’ the purchase," Jordan, R-Ohio, wrote in a letter sent to Khan on Wednesday and obtained by FOX Business

Jim Jordan

Rep. Jim Jordan at a House Judicary Committee oversight hearing. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images / Getty Images)

"We are concerned that OMI – where you were previously employed as Legal Director – may be trying to leverage its close relationship with you to take action to further limit free speech online," Jordan told Khan.

Open Markets Institute Director Barry Lynn issued a statement on April 26 saying the group believes Musk's purchase of Twitter "poses a number of immediate and direct threats to American democracy and free speech."

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Lynn went on to say that Open Markets "believes the deal violates existing law," and that the FCC, DOJ and FTC "have ample authority to block it."

Jordan wrote in his letter to Khan that "OMI appears to believe that the FTC will be receptive to its cavalier effort to influence a federal agency that is run by its former employee."

Lina Khan

Lina Khan, commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (Saul Loeb/AFP/Bloomberg via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"It is true that the Biden FTC is moving to promote progressive values that undermine capitalism and threaten innovation," the Ohio lawmaker continued. "And under your leadership, the Biden FTC has sought to ‘recast antitrust law into a tool to enable government to control capitalism,’ which disrupts free markets and is inconsistent with fundamental American freedoms. Perhaps this is why OMI seems to think it may have a friendly ear in the FTC."

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Jordan asked Khan whether she or anyone else at the FTC played a role in drafting OMI's statement, and whether her agency has taken any actions in response to the group's call to stop Musk's purchase of Twitter. He also formally requested that the chairwoman save any and all of her agency's records pertaining to the deal.

Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set to purchase social media giant Twitter in a $44 billion deal (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images / Getty Images)

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TWTR TWITTER INC. 40.17 +0.65 +1.64%

Khan has a lengthy history of urging the federal government to go after Big Tech firms and regulate their power. After she became head of the FTC, tech behemoths Facebook and Amazon both asked that she be removed from any involvement in the agency's antitrust litigation against the companies, alleging that she has a clear bias against them that is well documented.

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The FTC declined to comment on Jordan's letter to Khan.

FOX Business' Audrey Conklin contributed to this story.