In October 2013, a handful of us were encamped in Boise, Idaho, trying a hospital–physician group merger case in federal court. And yes, this was while the federal government was otherwise shut down.
I spent a good chunk of my working days ensconced in a cubicle at the offices of the Idaho Attorney General, who was prosecuting the merger case on behalf of the State. From where I sat, I could hear the intake person in the AG’s consumer protection bureau apologize to callers for the fact that they could not file a complaint with Consumer Sentinel or register their number with Do Not Call because of the pending shutdown. Nor could they get any consumer education materials because our normally information-rich website had been replaced with a pitiful one-pager stating, “We hope to be open soon.”
If I ever had any lingering doubts about the relevance and impact of the work that we do every day, on behalf of American consumers and the competitive process, they were dispelled in October 2013.