NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP BLASTS DOJ’s LATEST ANTITRUST CRUSADE | Citizens Against Government Waste

NATIONAL TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP BLASTS DOJ’s LATEST ANTITRUST CRUSADE

Press Release

For Immediate ReleaseContact: Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
July 7, 2000(202) 467-5300

Renews call for cuts in antitrust budget

(Washington, D.C.) – The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW), America’s largest taxpayer advocacy group, today joined the public debate over the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust suit against Visa and MasterCard.  CCAGW blasted DOJ’s antitrust division for pursuing yet another common-sense-defying lawsuit.  In light of this latest antitrust crusade, CCAGW renewed its call Congress to cut the budget of this out-of-control operation.

“Let me get this straight,” remarked CCAGW President Thomas Schatz.  “These two credit card networks, whose member financial institutions offer a huge variety of choices from zero percent interest on up, are harming consumers?  Something here doesn't add up.  Any card issuer has open access to consumers, as anyone who opens his or her mailbox today knows all too well.”

Schatz noted that most of the incentive for this suit appears to have come from American Express, the upscale credit card company whose main business is its high-fee corporate cards, and whose dollar volume was the largest of any credit card issuer in 1999.  "Antitrust litigation is supposed to be about protecting consumers from harm.  Instead, it is again being used by the Clinton Administration as a tool to legislate and regulate legitimate and competitive businesses," Schatz continued.

CCAGW fought the Clinton Administration’s move to increase the antitrust division’s funding by 16 percent in fiscal 2000.  “Now we see what they wanted all that extra money for,” said Schatz.  For fiscal 2001, the White House is seeking a 22 precent budget hike for the wayward trustbusters.

"It's bad enough when the government wastes money on useless pork-barrel projects.  But the antitrust division seems intent on overregulating America's most successful companies.  That's not just waste.  The unwarranted activities of the antitrust division do real harm to the economy and every consumer and taxpayer in the country," Schatz concluded.

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, mismanagement and abuse in government.

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