04 May 2018

US Federal Trade Commission fully-staffed after three year hiatus

With major antitrust cases ahead the US Federal Trade Commission is fully staffed after a three years hiatus in top posts.

The Federal Trade Commission is fully staffed at the top for the first time since mid-2015, after three members were sworn in this week. Chairman Joe Simons, a Republican, was sworn in late Tuesday and fellow Republican Noah Phillips was sworn in along with Democrats Rebecca Slaughter and Rohit Chopra the next day.

Delta Airlines' Lawyer waits
Unusually the fifth member of the commission, Republican Maureen Ohlhausen, who has been acting chairwoman for the past 15 months, has stated she will stay on until her term ends in September or until she is confirmed to a federal judgeship. The Senate has confirmed Republican Christine Wilson, a senior vice president for regulatory and international affairs at Delta Air Lines Inc, is to replace Ohlhausen once she departs. Wilson, who resigned her $390,000-a-year job at as Delta’s senior vice president for legal, regulatory and international affairs in February, a week after she was nominated by President Trump.

Big cases
The FTC has not had five commissioners since Josh Wright, a Republican, stepped down in mid-2015, according to FTC data. The FTC works with the US Justice Department to enforce antitrust law and investigates companies accused of deceptive advertising. Big cases before the FTC currently include a proposed combination of industrial gases companies Praxair Inc and Linde AG, and a review of whether Facebook violated a 2011 FTC consent decree over its privacy practices following allegations that Cambridge Analytica improperly gained access to user data for 50 million people without users being notified.