The Line of Business Program–The FTC’s New Tool

by B. Linder, Allan Savage



Several years ago the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sent out the first questionnaire asking for information to be used in its Line of Business (LB) program. A total of 345 companies received the special form. Only 228 firms complied with the commission's request. Since that time controversy and legal actions have plagued the LB program. LB program of FTC is designed to collect annual financial and statistical data by line of business for manufacturing activities and to publish statistical and economic reports based on those data. From such a simple statement of purpose has evolved more than three years of fierce legal conflict between a large number of the U.S. most significant business enterprises and the commission. Each year since the original request, additional requests have gone out; each of these additional requests has been fought in courts. Developments leading to the present LB reporting program began in 1940s, when the federal government first issued quarterly financial reports on manufacturing companies.

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