The Federal Trade Commission would get a $22.3 million funding increase under the president’s fiscal 2011 budget request sent to Congress on Monday. The approximately 7.6 percent increase would support the hiring of 40 new staffers, including 17 in the competition bureau.
Nine of the new full-time competition positions would be dedicated to review mergers in pharmaceutical, health care, energy and technology markets, according to the request.
The agency signaled that energy would be a key focus, with four additional staff members slated to review price manipulation in the petroleum market and three new economists to focus on energy markets
Four additional positions would concentrate on enforcement in the pharmaceutical and tech sectors. The agency also asked for several new positions on its competition support staff, and one new member on its policy planning task force.
On the consumer protection side of the agency, the FTC asked for 23 new positions, to focus on financial services and health fraud, schemes that target “vulnerable Americans” and others.
The request also includes several new positions in the areas of privacy and data security, and mobile marketing and new media. The agency is currently reviewing Google’s acquisition of mobile advertising company AdMob. Critics of Google’s purchase have argued that the merger would decrease competition in the nascent market for advertising on mobile devices, but they have also said the deal raises concerns about consumer privacy that arise from combining Google’s vast data mines with those of AdMob.