Structure & Background Info By Joe Kennedy

Mission Statement

“The mission of the Antitrust Division is to promote economic competition through enforcing and providing guidance on antitrust laws and principles.”

Roots of the Division

The Anti-Trust Division enforces three main laws: the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Clayton Act and the Federal Trade Commission Act. These three policies were created to protect American consumers against price fixing, monopolies and false advertising. Each law of the following laws were enacted to protect against specific anti-consumer practices:

Sherman Antitrust Act

As a reaction against the trusts that dominated the American economy throughout the 1800s and the industrial revolution, the Sherman Antitrust Act was enacted on February 30, 1890. The act outlawed “all contracts, combinations, and conspiracies that unreasonably restrain interstate and foreign trade” (DOJ). In addition, it outlawed monopolies that enabled a single corporation to dominate the entirety of products and services associated with their business, making it impossible for others to compete.

Clayton Act

The Clayton Act was passed on October 15, 1914 to aid the already existent Sherman Act. This law further defined illegal monopolies by requiring government authorization for all businesses applying for mergers above a certain size. Furthermore, following the Sherman Act, the large business owners that had once been a part of the trusts had begun to employ a practice called price fixing. Essentially, they were no longer official trusts; however, the business owners were still actively exploiting consumers by agreeing on higher prices. This act allowed the government to oversee these illegal practices and regulate in the name of the consumers.

Federal Trade Commission Act

This act created the Federal Trade Commission in 1914. The FTC is a government agency that regulates large corporations and protects the consumer against unfair trade practices. These unfair practices can include monopolies, deceptive advertising, price fixing, exclusive dealing and misuse of patents. In the end, the FTC regulates the market to protect the free market and consumers.


The Antitrust Division is headed by an Assistant Attorney General who is nominated by the President. Under this, there are 5 Deputy Assistant Attorney Generals who head one of the specified legs within the division which include economic analysis, international enforcement, criminal enforcement, regulatory matters and civil enforcement. The current Assistant Attorney General is Christine A. Varney. She manages a budget of over $160 million and over 800 employees including 360 attorneys, 55 economists and 180 paralegals. As the visual below illustrates, the division has field offices in Atlanta, Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco.



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