Since Lina Khan took the reins of the FTC, the agency has launched five new rulemakings under its Section 18 (“Mag-Moss”) authority – specifically, rules to combat government and business impersonation scams, deceptive earnings claims, “commercial surveillance,” deceptive endorsements, and “junk fees.” (I’m excluding here revisions to existing Mag-Moss rules, as well

The FTC’s Magnuson-Moss Rulemaking Process – Still an Uphill ClimbWe’ve been hearing a lot lately about the FTC’s rulemaking procedures under Section 18 of the FTC Act (also known as “Mag-Moss” rulemaking). Long decried as too burdensome and difficult to use on a regular basis, this tool is now being celebrated for its enormous, untapped potential to establish industry-wide standards and enable the FTC to get monetary relief in its cases, post-AMG. (AMG didn’t affect the FTC authority to obtain monetary relief when it’s enforcing a rule.)

Is the old view or the new one correct? Is Mag-Moss rulemaking really so cumbersome, as many FTC staff and observers have long claimed? Have those burdens been overstated, warranting the enthusiasm we’re now seeing among FTC Commissioners, consumer groups, and Congress? Did the FTC’s changes to its internal rules last July (see below) really “streamline” the process as the FTC claimed?

As suggested by the title to this blogpost, I have an opinion: Mag-Moss is still an uphill climb. However, to enable readers to decide for themselves, I detail below the Mag-Moss process as laid out in the law. Although the FTC’s July changes stripped away some extra steps it had previously imposed under its rules, the hurdles in the law remain formidable. 
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