Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A looter's paradise

You have to hand it to the American Antitrust Institute, which has recently managed to take antitrust to a new low.

An antitrust probe into the explosives industry that started with a bang in the 1990s has ended quietly with an order signed by a federal judge in Utah.

U.S. District Judge David Sam wrapped up the matter earlier this month by distributing the remaining $48,887 of a $60 million settlement in the case to the Salt Lake

Community Action Program (SLCAP) and the American Antitrust Institute in Washington, D.C. SLCAP advocate Karen Silver said her organization expects to use its share - $16,133 - for advocacy efforts involving utilities.

The amount adds up to pocket change for the mining industry, but it is a welcome addition to the SLCAP's coffers.

We could always use the money," Silver said.

The American Antitrust Institute, a nonprofit education and advocacy organization whose mission is to increase the role of competition, was awarded $32,754.

The institute and SLCAP were among the groups that applied for the leftover settlement funds - a standard procedure when there is a small amount of money remaining after the plaintiffs' claims have been satisfied and dividing it up among a large number of plaintiffs would be impractical.

The case has its roots in a U.S. Department of Justice investigation that began in 1992 into whether the manufacturers and distributors of commercial explosives were conspiring to fix prices, rig bids and allocate customers among themselves, according to Washington, D.C., attorney Richard McMillan, who represented mining companies that alleged they were victims of an antitrust scheme.[Pamela Manson, The Salt Lake Tribune]
That's impressive--literally money for nothing. What do you say to CAC applying for leftover antitrust settlement funds, on the grounds that CAC’s mission is to increase the role of competition—by abolishing the antitrust laws?

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