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The conventional wisdom is that the FTC was the governmental equivalent of a leper colony prior to 1969, and its credibility and reputation were restored only by the adoption of the wise recommendations in the 1969 ABA Report. There is no question that the FTC deserves plenty of criticism for its pre-1969 performance. It is also beyond doubt that there has been a dramatic turn-around in the intervening forty-five years, as the FTC adopted the recommendations in the 1969 Report. But, before we simply genuflect at the wisdom of those responsible for the ABA Report and the inherent virtue of their recommendations, it is worth noting that those recommendations also placed the FTC’s continued existence at risk as well — and did so for an entirely new set of reasons than had been the case pre-1969. Indeed, the last forty-five years of the FTC’s history (which are assuredly an improvement on the first fifty-five) are still a testament to the unintended consequences that can accompany even the best of reform proposals.

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GWU Law School Public Law Research Paper No. 2015-58; GWU Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2015-58

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