United States Department of Justice
Antitrust Division
Seal of the United States Department of Justice
Division overview
Formed1919; 105 years ago (1919)
JurisdictionFederal government of the United States
HeadquartersRobert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, D.C., United States
Division executive
Parent departmentU.S. Department of Justice
WebsiteOfficial website

The United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division is a division of the U.S. Department of Justice that enforces U.S. antitrust law. It has exclusive jurisdiction over U.S. federal criminal antitrust investigations and prosecutions. It also has jurisdiction over civil antitrust enforcement, which it shares with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The Antitrust Division often works jointly with the FTC to provide regulatory guidance to businesses.

The Division is headed by an Assistant Attorney General, who is appointed by the President of the United States with and by the advice and consent of the Senate, and reports to the Associate Attorney General. The current Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division is Jonathan Kanter, who was sworn into office November 16, 2021.[1]


On February 25, 1903, Congress earmarked $500,000 for antitrust enforcement. On March 3, 1903, Congress created the position of Antitrust AG, with a salary to be paid out of the funds earmarked for antitrust enforcement. The 1904 DOJ Register identified two professional staffers responsible for enforcement of antitrust laws, but the Division was not formally established until 1919.[citation needed]

Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer “effected the first important reorganization" of DOJ since it was first established in 1870. Palmer organized DOJ into divisions, and placed the AtAG “in charge of the Anti-Trust Division.” Palmer's annual report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1919 contained the first public statement that DOJ had a component called the "Antitrust Division."[2]

2013 closure of field offices

The closure of four of the Antitrust Division's criminal antitrust offices in January 2013 generated significant controversy within the Division and among members of Congress.[3][4][5] The Attorney General posited that the closure of these offices will save money and not negatively affect criminal enforcement.

A significant number of career prosecutors have voiced contrary opinions, noting that the elimination of half of the Division's criminal enforcement offices will increase travel expenses and diminish the likelihood of uncovering local or regional conspiracies.


First Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust William J. Donovan
Current Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Jonathan Kanter

The head of the Antitrust Division is the Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust (AAG-AT) appointed by the President of the United States. Jonathan Kanter was confirmed as Assistant Attorney General on November 16, 2021.[6]

The Assistant Attorney General is assisted by six Deputy Assistant Attorneys General (DAAG) who each oversee a different branch of the Division. One of the DAAGs holds the position of "Principal Deputy," that is "first among equals," and "will typically assume the powers of the Assistant Attorney General in the Assistant Attorney General's absence."[7]

Front Office and Operations

As of June 25, 2015, the division consists of these sections and offices:[8]

Office of the Assistant Attorney General

Office of Operations

Civil Sections

Criminal Sections and Offices

Economic Sections

Other Offices

List of Assistant Attorneys General for the Antitrust Division

Name Years of service Appointed by
William Joseph Donovan 1926–1927 Calvin Coolidge
John Lord O'Brian 1929–1933 Herbert Hoover
Robert H. Jackson 1937–1938 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Thurman Arnold 1938–1943 Franklin D. Roosevelt
Wendell Berge 1943–1947 Franklin D. Roosevelt
John F. Sonnett 1947–1948 Harry S. Truman
Herbert Bergson 1948–1950 Harry S. Truman
Leonard Bessman 1950–1951 Harry S. Truman
H. Graham Morison 1951–1952 Harry S. Truman
Newell A. Clapp 1952–1953 acting
Stanley Barnes 1953–1956 Eisenhower
Victor R. Hansen 1956–1959 Eisenhower
Robert A. Bicks 1959–1961 Eisenhower
Lee Loevinger 1961–1963 Kennedy
William Horsley Orrick, Jr. 1963–1965 Kennedy
Donald F. Turner 1965–1968 Lyndon Johnson
Edwin Zimmerman 1968–1969 Lyndon Johnson
Richard W. McLaren 1969–1972 Richard Nixon
Walker B. Comegys 1972 acting
Thomas E. Kauper 1972–1976 Richard Nixon
Donald I. Baker 1976–1977 Gerald R. Ford
John H. Shenefield 1977–1979 Jimmy Carter
Sanford Litvack 1979–1981 Jimmy Carter
William Baxter 1981–1983 Ronald Reagan
J. Paul McGrath 1983–1985 Ronald Reagan
Douglas H. Ginsburg 1985–1986 Ronald Reagan
Charles Rule 1986–1989 Ronald Reagan
James F. Rill 1989–1992 George H.W. Bush
Charles James 1992 acting
J. Mark Gidley 1992–1993 acting
Anne Bingaman 1993–1996 Bill Clinton
Joel Klein 1996–2000 Bill Clinton
Douglas Melamed 2000–2001 acting
Charles James 2001–2003 George W. Bush
R. Hewitt Pate 2003–2005 George W. Bush
Thomas O. Barnett 2005–2008 George W. Bush
Deborah A. Garza 2008–2009 acting
Christine A. Varney 2009–2011 Barack Obama
Sharis Pozen 2011–2012 acting
Joseph F. Wayland 2012 acting
Renata Hesse 2012–2013 acting
William Baer 2013–2017 Barack Obama
Makan Delrahim 2017–2021 Donald J. Trump
Jonathan Kanter 2021–Present Joe Biden

See also


  1. ^ "U.S. Senate confirms Google critic Kanter to head Justice Dept Antitrust Division". Reuters. November 17, 2021. Retrieved November 17, 2021.
  2. ^ Werden, Gregory J. (Fall 2018). "Establishment of the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice". St. John's Law Review. 98 (3): 419–430.
  3. ^ Lipman, Melissa (January 15, 2023). "DOJ's Antitrust Plans Unclear Amid Looming Office Closures". Law360. Archived from the original on April 5, 2013. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  4. ^ Lipman, Melissa (May 2, 2012). "Kohl Urges DOJ To Reconsider Antitrust Office Closings". Law360. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  5. ^ Lipman, Melissa. "DOJ Faces Mounting Flak Over Plan To Close Antitrust Offices". Law360. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
  6. ^ "Meet the Assistant Attorney General". Department of Justice. November 17, 2021. Archived from the original on November 28, 2021.
  7. ^ Antitrust Division Manual (5th ed.). U.S. Department of Justice. April 2015. pp. I–4. Archived from the original on April 12, 2021.
  8. ^ "Sections And Offices". www.justice.gov. June 25, 2015. Retrieved May 24, 2021.