WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) today urged the Department of Justice to reconsider a proposal to close the Philadelphia Antitrust Office. The Philadelphia office protects consumers and, to benefit taxpayers, has collected hundreds of millions of dollars through enforcement of antitrust laws.
“The Philadelphia Antitrust Office is a benefit for taxpayers and helps protect consumers in Pennsylvania and across the country,” Senator Casey said. “Closing the Philadelphia office could not only harm taxpayers, it could also leave consumers more vulnerable to illegal business practices.”
The Department of Justice recently announced plans to close four regional antitrust offices, including the Philadelphia office, for an estimated savings of $8 million. However, the Philadelphia office alone has collected hundreds of millions of dollars through antitrust enforcement. In a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, Senator Casey urged the agency to consider the added costs of relocating the office, including the relocation of employees and higher locality pay.
The full text of Senator Casey’s letter is below:
Dear Mr. Attorney General:
I am writing to express my deep concern with the proposed closure of the Philadelphia Antitrust Office. While I strongly support efforts to streamline operations and reduce unnecessary costs throughout the federal government, I believe that closure of the Philadelphia Antitrust Office could have a negative fiscal impact and adverse consequences for consumers. I respectfully ask you to reconsider your plan and explore alternative ways to reduce costs while ensuring strong enforcement of antitrust laws.
On October 5th, your Department announced its plan to close four regional Antitrust offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, and Philadelphia, citing estimated savings of $8 million. However, the Philadelphia office alone has collected hundreds of millions of dollars in fines as a result of its enforcement of antitrust laws. That revenue more than offsets the minimal costs associated with running the Philadelphia office and should be considered in your calculations. In addition, the proposed relocation of operations and employees to New York, San Francisco, and Washington carries additional costs and, according to the Office of Personnel Management, also means higher locality pay.
I am also concerned that closure of the Philadelphia Antitrust Office has the potential to limit the Department’s ability to pursue antitrust enforcement in the region. The Philadelphia Field Office has made Philadelphia a center for antitrust cases for decades, and its attorneys are known to be both experienced and trustworthy. This strong reputation leads more private attorneys to approach the office with criminal cases and ultimately leads to stronger antitrust enforcement.
I urge you to reconsider the planned consolidation of the Philadelphia Antitrust Office and undertake a comprehensive review of the impacts of these closures. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Robert P. Casey, Jr.
United States Senator