02 May 2018

Senate Confirms FTC Commissioners, Preparing the Way for Full Commission Turnover

On April 26, 2018, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed President Trump’s five nominations for the incoming Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman and Commissioners:

  • Joseph Simons of Virginia, a Republican, to be Chairman. Mr. Simons is a former FTC Bureau of Competition director during the Chairmanship of Sidley Senior Counsel Timothy Muris, and is currently a corporate antitrust lawyer in private practice. He will serve a 7 year term from Sept. 26, 2017, and follows Commissioner Terrell McSweeny, whose term expired last September and will be stepping down with the new Commissioners’ arrival.
  • Rohit Chopra of New York, a Democrat.  Mr. Chopra is a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official.  He will serve an unexpired term of 7 years from Sept. 26, 2012, and follows Commissioner Joshua D. Wright, who resigned in 2015.
  • Noah Joshua Phillips of Maryland, a Republican. Mr. Phillips is chief counsel for Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). He will serve for the term of 7 years from Sept. 26, 2016, following Commissioner Julie Brill, whose term expired last year.
  • Rebecca Kelly Slaughter of Maryland, a Democrat.  Ms. Slaughter is an aide to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and formerly practiced law as an associate at Sidley. She will serve a term of 7 years from Sept. 26, 2015, following Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, who served through the expiration of her term until her resignation in 2017.
  • Christine S. Wilson of Virginia, a Republican. Ms. Wilson is formerly a chief of staff to past FTC Chairman Timothy Muris with a strong antitrust background, and currently is a senior vice president for regulatory and international affairs at Delta Air Lines.  She would serve a term of 7 years from Sept. 26, 2018; however she may not be sworn in immediately.  She is barred pending the Senate confirmation of Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen, who has been nominated to serve as a federal judge, or until Acting Chairman Ohlhausen’s term as an FTC Commissioner expires in September.

Typically, a new slate of 5 Commissioners would not all start in their roles at once; however, the FTC has been operating with only two commissioners since February 2017.

Democratic commissioner Terrell McSweeny served with the FTC since 2014.  She continued in her role as Commissioner for several months in the absence of a replacement after her term expired. On April 16, she announced her resignation, effective Apr. 28, 2018. She stated:

“I especially want to thank my colleague acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen. I am proud that together we cast more than 500 unanimous votes to protect consumers and competition. In a highly-charged and partisan time, we worked to make sure that the FTC remains an expert agency governed by bipartisan consensus.”

On April 26, Acting FTC Chairman Ohlhausen issued the following statement regarding these Senate confirmations:

“I congratulate Joe, as well as Noah, Rebecca, and Rohit on their Senate confirmations. I look forward to welcoming them to the Commission once their appointments are made final by President Trump. I also congratulate Christine, who will take my seat if I am so fortunate as to be confirmed by the Senate as a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.”

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