Authority of the Antitrust Division Over Antitrust and Paramount Decree Violations

Gao ID: GGD-80-24 November 13, 1979

A member of Congress requested reconsideration of the findings of an earlier report concerning the Department of Justice's (DOJ) handling of antitrust violations in the motion picture industry. The Antitrust Division's practice of retaining jurisdiction over such cases in Washington was also questioned. One of the Congressman's constituents was dissatisfied with the handling of complaints involving the motion picture industry and wanted DOJ to grant a U.S. attorney authority to investigate and prosecute such cases without interference from the Antitrust Division.

U.S. attorneys who want to conduct preliminary inquiries must request and receive authority from the Antitrust Division on a case-by-case basis. Requests are reviewed to determine if there is reason to believe a violation has occurred, and whether or not an investigation would conflict with ongoing efforts of the Antitrust Division or the Federal Trade Commission. The constituent's complaints were two of many complaints filed in 1978 concerning the motion picture industry. The constituent's complaints were reviewed and no violations of Federal laws or evidence of mishandling by the Antitrust Division were found. No evidence that the complaints were not being responsibly handled by the Antitrust Division was found.

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