Antitrust Action

January 31, 1975

Report Outline
New Wave of Antitrust Lawsuits
Development of U.S. Antitrust Laws
Problems of Federal Enforcement
Special Focus

New Wave of Antitrust Lawsuits

Fors's Call for Antitrust Action Against Inflation

A recent wave of antitrust lawsuits brought by the Justice Department has caused a stir in the nation's business and legal communities. Many are asking if the government is indeed determined to open an era of tough enforcement. President Ford has said antitrust action is a weapon in his administration's fight against inflation, and a spate of legal moves indicates that his words are to be taken seriously. Still, the history of antitrust activity has been marked by peaks and valleys of interest and enforcement. The peaks dwindle into valleys as investigation and litigation drag on for years or the political climate changes.

It is a bit of political folklore in Washington that a Republican in the White House is likely to insist on strict enforcement of antitrust laws to dispel his party's pro-business image among the electorate. The truth or falsity of this notion is subject to argument but it apparently is held strongly enough to give American business added concern about the present state of economic affairs.

“I am determined to return to the vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws,” President Ford told Congress on Oct. 8 in a message on inflation. Price-fixing and bid-rigging were two violations which, he said, would be prosecuted “to the full extent of the law.” In addition, Ford requested that the lawmakers raise the maximum penalty in antitrust criminal cases from one year's imprisonment to three and in civil cases raise the limit on fines to $1 million for corporations and $100,000 for individuals. The ceiling on both penalties had been $50,000 since 1955. Congress complied with his request in a bill—the Antitrust Procedures and Penalties Act—passed on Dec. 11 and signed into law ten days later.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Antitrust
Jun. 12, 1998  Antitrust Policy
Jul. 07, 1989  Do Antitrust Laws Limit U.S. Competitiveness?
Jan. 15, 1982  Business Mergers and Antitrust
Jan. 31, 1975  Antitrust Action
May 25, 1966  Business Concentration and Antitrust Laws
Feb. 19, 1947  Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws
Dec. 19, 1938  Anti-Trust Enforcement Through Consent Decrees
Nov. 24, 1930  Revision of the Antitrust Laws
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Antitrust and Monopolies
Antitrust and Monopolies