UNPA Colleagues --
Please see the attached update from Trish Knight and Peter Reinecke regarding key nominations at the FTC.
President nominates two for FTC; third nomination likely soon
By Patricia Knight and Peter Reinecke, UNPA Senior Political Advisors
On Thursday, Oct. 19, the president announced that he intends to nominate two individuals to fill open seats at the Federal Trade Commission, which has been operating with only two members this year. A third nominee appears close to announcement, based on White House statements, which would bring the agency to its full complement of five commissioners.
While it had been rumored that Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes could be picked for the top spot, President Trump selected corporate lawyer Joe Simons to be chairman. It is notable that Simons, who has represented tech giants, such as Microsoft and Sony, was the head of FTC’s Bureau of Competition from 2001 to 2003. He is expected to focus on corporate consolidations, given his background, but he also has a background in advertising law and deceptive claims. In selecting an outsider for chairman, the White House passed over the acting chair, Maureen Ohlhausen, a Republican commissioner since 2012, who was reported to be very interested in the position.
The president also announced his intent to nominate for the open Democratic seat Rohit Chopra, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America. CFA has been critical of dietary supplements in the past, most notably DS claims. It also opposed the ability of manufacturers to make qualified health claims. Chopra formerly worked for outspoken consumer advocate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and will be one for us to watch. He was suggested to the White House by Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and is seen as lending a pro-consumer balance to the pro-business commissioners.
The White House is also expected to fill the final FTC vacancy with Noah Phillips, the chief counsel for Texas Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican. Phillips focused on civil litigation at two large law firms before joining the Senate staff.
The Senate confirmation process is extremely slow, so it is possible to predict when these individuals will join the FTC. We will keep you posted as more details on their records and their confirmations become available.