With the swearing in of four of the five newly-confirmed  FTC commissioners, control of the FTC is now in the hands of Republicans.

Yesterday, Joseph Simons, a Republican, was sworn in as FTC Chairman.  Today, Noah Phillips, a Republican, was sworn in along with Rebecca Slaughter and Rohit Chopra, both Democrats.

Republican Christine Wilson, the fifth newly-confirmed FTC commissioner, was appointed to fill the seat currently held by Maureen Ohlhausen, also a Republican.  Ms. Ohlhausen is awaiting Senate confirmation of her nomination by President Trump to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  Ms. Wilson will be sworn in when Ms. Ohlhausen leaves the FTC.

We will be closely watching future FTC developments to see the impact of the change to Republican control on the FTC’s regulatory and enforcement priorities and initiatives.

 

Last Thursday, the Senate confirmed five individuals—three Republicans and two Democrats—nominated by President Trump to serve as FTC commissioners.  The change to Republican control can be expected to impact the FTC’s future regulatory and enforcement priorities and initiatives.

The confirmed nominees consist of the following individuals:

  • Joseph Simons.  Mr. Simons, a Republican, most recently worked as an attorney in private practice in Washington, D.C., and formerly served as a head FTC antitrust lawyer.
  • Noah Phillips.  Mr. Phillips, a Republican, most recently served as Chief Counsel to Senator John Cornyn, the Republican Whip.
  • Christine Wilson.  Ms. Wilson, a Republican, most recently served as Senior Vice President for Regulatory & International Affairs at Delta Air Lines.
  • Rohit Chopra.  Mr. Chopra, a Democrat, most recently served as a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, formerly served as the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman.
  • Rebecca Slaughter.  Ms. Slaughter, a Democrat, most recently served as Chief Counsel to Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate Minority Leader.

The FTC has been operating with just two commissioners consisting of Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen and Commissioner Terrell McSweeny.  Ms. Ohlhausen, a Republican whose term expires in September 2018, has been appointed by President Trump to serve as a judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.  Since Ms. Wilson was appointed to fill Ms. Ohlhausen’s seat and the Senate has not yet confirmed Ms. Ohlhausen as a federal judge, it is uncertain when Ms. Wilson will be sworn in as an FTC commissioner.

Although the term of Ms. McSweeny, a Democrat, expired in September 2017, she continued to serve as an FTC Commissioner, reportedly pursuant to an FTC practice that allows a commissioner to remain in his or her position until a replacement is confirmed.  She has resigned effective April 28.