According to the Financial Times staffing in the antitrust division of the US Department of Justice has fallen since Donald Trump took office despite a boom in big corporate mergers, according to phone directories for the division.
The directories showed a 13 per cent drop across the division since February 2017, shortly after Mr Trump’s inauguration, with more severe attrition in units responsible for civil and criminal enforcement of competition laws. Across the six units that review mergers, the directories showed 18 per cent fewer trial attorneys, paralegals, and other support staff. In two Washington-based units that investigate criminal price-fixing conspiracies, the decline was 27 per cent.
David Cicilline, Democratic chair of the House antitrust subcommittee, called the staffing decline “alarming” and said the subcommittee would look into it.
“We need to both modernise our existing antitrust laws and make sure that they’re working in the current economy, and also ensure that antitrust agencies have the resources and personnel to do their work effectively,” he said in a statement.