Mr. Muris' move was the latest step in an increasingly ugly feud with Sen. Ernest "Fritz" Hollings, D-S.C., the powerful chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee who has opposed Mr. Muris' decision to have the FTC cede antitrust oversight of media mergers to the Justice Department.
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An aide later said the comment had been made flippantly and not entirely seriously.
This afternoon in a statement Mr. Muris upped the rhetoric.
"If Sen. Hollings were to succeed ... the agency would have no legal authority to move forward with its responsibilities, including its rule-making, investigative and law enforcement functions," the statement said.
He also reiterated his earlier comment that Sen. Hollings, a strong backer of the FTC, would be endangering the commission with his proposed cuts.
"I am surprised that Sen. Hollings, being such a strong advocate of consumer protection, would consider a measure that would virtually eliminate the FTC's ability to protect consumers," Mr. Muris said.