A PYMNTS Company

New FTC Commissioners to Take Office Next Week

 |  March 13, 2024

Following Senate confirmation, former Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson and former Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak are set to join the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) this week. The new Republican Commissioners, nominated by President Biden last summer, will be filling the seats left vacant after the previous two Republican Commissioners resigned amid extensive criticism.

The criticism was largely centered around the belief that the Biden Administration’s leadership of the FTC was pushing a politicized agenda that strayed from traditional antitrust enforcement and policy. The new Commissioners are expected to bring a fresh perspective to the Commission, which has been dominated by Democrats for nearly a year.

The Federal Trade Commission, a five-member body, has been operating with a reduced team since the resignation of Christine S. Wilson on March 31, 2023. The addition of Ferguson and Holyoak will restore the Commission to its full strength. However, the existing Democratic majority on the Commission will remain unaffected, as by law, no more than three FTC Commissioners can be from the same political party at one time.

Read more: The FTC’s New Unfair Methods of Competition Policy Statement: To What Extent Will The Approach Survive In Court?

The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which has been advocating for policies that promote innovation and competition in the tech industry for over 50 years, has been closely following the developments. The swearing-in of the new Commissioners, expected to occur this week, is seen as a significant step towards the full functioning of the FTC.

The current Commission is comprised of three Democrats—Chair Lina Khan and Commissioners Rebecca Kelly Slaughter and Alvaro Bedoya. With the addition of Ferguson and Holyoak, the first Republican Commissioners in nearly a year, the Commission will once again have a more balanced representation.

Despite the Democratic majority, the new Republican Commissioners will have a say in all enforcement and policy recommendations that require Commission approval. This could potentially lead to more balanced and bipartisan decisions, which many critics argue has been lacking in the recent past.

The appointment of Ferguson and Holyoak is seen as a move to restore balance and reduce the perceived politicization of the FTC. Their roles will be critical in shaping the future direction of the Commission, particularly in the areas of antitrust enforcement and policy. Their experience and expertise are expected to bring a fresh perspective to the Commission and its operations.

Source: C Cianet