WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Representative Tony Cardenas, along with other Democrats, has introduced a bill that would restore the Federal Trade Commission's ability to force scam artists and deceptive companies to return ill-gotten gains.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday made it more difficult for the FTC to win back lost funds, ruling 9-0 that the Federal Trade Commission Act allows it to ask a judge for injunctions to stop bad behavior but not to claw back money.
Cardenas' bill, which was introduced on Tuesday, would amend the FTC Act to confirm the agency's authority to "seek permanent injunctions and other equitable relief," according to the bill's text.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to an increase of scams and fraud that prey on consumers' fears and financial insecurities," Cardenas said in a statement on Tuesday. "Inaction is not an option and will only embolden these bad actors."
The bill has 13 Democratic co-sponsors, including Representative Frank Pallone, chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative Jan Schakowsky, chair of its consumer protection subcommittee. The panel will hold a hearing on the matter next week.
Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, also indicated an interest in a bill to allow the FTC to seek restitution.
"We are working to move legislation immediately to make sure this authority is properly protected," she said in a statement on Thursday.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bill Berkrot)