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Senate Confirms Two Republican Nominees to Federal Trade Commission

 |  March 10, 2024

Late on Thursday, the US Senate confirmed by voice vote the nominations of Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson and Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak to fill Republican slots at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This move comes as President Joe Biden nominated the two candidates back in July, as reported by Reuters.

The confirmation of Ferguson and Holyoak marks a significant development within the FTC, though it is not expected to shift the balance of power significantly. The commission, responsible for enforcing antitrust laws and regulations against deceptive advertising, currently consists of a Democratic chair, Lina Khan, and two Democratic commissioners. The addition of the two Republicans fills a void that has persisted for nearly a year.

The FTC, under the Biden administration, has notably taken a more aggressive stance against mergers deemed potentially harmful to consumers or innovation, according to Reuters. Recent actions include a lawsuit to block Kroger’s $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons, citing concerns over potential increases in grocery prices. Additionally, the FTC filed a long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Amazon in September, alleging illegal monopoly practices, with the trial scheduled for October 2026.

Both Ferguson and Holyoak bring extensive legal backgrounds to their new roles. Ferguson served as chief counsel to U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell from 2019 to 2021, with previous experience working for Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley.

On the other hand, Holyoak has worked as an associate at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP and at the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, focusing on combatting class action lawsuits and regulatory issues. She has also held positions at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Center for Class Action Fairness.

In addition to confirming the two Republican nominees, the Senate also approved a new term for Democratic FTC Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter, ensuring continuity within the commission’s leadership.

The confirmation of Ferguson and Holyoak underscores the ongoing efforts to shape the FTC’s direction and regulatory approach, particularly in the realms of antitrust enforcement and consumer protection.

Source: Reuters