FTC Fills Up With Trump Nominations

Advertising Law

After making do with just two members since February, the Federal Trade Commission may soon be back at full capacity after President Donald Trump officially nominated two individuals to join the FTC, including one tapped as chair, with another nomination predicted to occur soon.

Antitrust attorney—and former director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition—Joseph Simons was selected to lead the FTC. Simons first joined the agency in the late 1980s and took over leadership of the Bureau from 2001 to 2003.

“Among his accomplishments, Simons was responsible for overseeing the reinvigoration of the FTC’s non-merger enforcement program,” according to the White House press release announcing his nomination. “Under his leadership, the Bureau initiated over 100 investigations and produced more non-merger enforcement actions in one year than in any other year in the prior two decades or since.”

Simons has been in private practice in Washington, D.C., since leaving the FTC in 2003, focusing on the defense of merger challenges. He is expected to be confirmed for a seven-year term that began on Sept. 26, 2017.

To fill the open spot for a Democrat, President Trump nominated Rohit Chopra, who would join Terrell McSweeny as the minority voices on the FTC and complete the remainder of a seven-year term expiring Sept. 25, 2019. Chopra previously served as assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and student loan ombudsman for the CFPB. He is now a senior fellow with the Consumer Federation of America.

While the president has yet to officially announce a nomination for the final opening, news reports suggested his intent to pick Noah Phillips, currently chief counsel to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). Before that, Phillips focused on civil litigation in his private practice in Washington, D.C.

Why it matters: If confirmed, Simons will assume leadership of the FTC from Acting Chair Maureen K. Ohlhausen and the other nominees would provide a full spate of commissioners for the first time in several months.



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