As we noted late last week, the U.S. federal government shutdown which began Tuesday does not impact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). But the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is closed for the time being, with most of its functions on indefinite hold.
The FTC’s web site Tuesday went dark, redirecting visitors to a very plain message at ftc.gov/shutdown.html. The message reads:
Unfortunately, the Federal Trade Commission is closed due to the government shutdown.
The FTC Premerger Notification Office will be open to accept HSR filings.
Consumers may file FOIA requests, but they will not be processed.
Consumers cannot file complaints or register for Do Not Call.
All public workshops, roundtables, hearings and conferences are postponed until further notice.
We hope to be open soon.
The agency did not explain what may be happening with ongoing investigations or legal actions. There is also no indication that the FTC may reopen before the end of the shutdown. While the FTC noted that consumers cannot file complaints, it is not known if complaints submitted by consumers online will be entered once the agency is up and running again, or if those complaints will show up in the FTC’s yearly consumer complaints report.
The FTC is an independent agency of the U.S. government, meaning it is not tied to federal executive departments. But its funding is specifically appropriated by Congress in the annual federal budget, and since it is deemed “non-essential” it was closed Tuesday.
This is different from the funding of the CFPB. The new financial watchdog operates within the Federal Reserve and is not subject to Congressional budget appropriations.