The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is supposed to have five Commissioners appointed by the president with the advice and consent of the Senate.
To provide balance in leadership, no more than three of the Commissioners are to be from the same political party. However, the FTC has operated without a full complement of Commissioners for almost a year, and without a Republican voice since March of 2023. The failure to fill the vacant seats on the Commission has opened the FTC to widespread criticism by Congress and the business community at large for operating in a partisan manner.
It now appears as though the political balance will be restored to the FTC with the recent advancement by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee of the president’s two Republican nominees to the Commission: Melissa Holyoak and Andrew Ferguson. Ms. Holyoak is a 2003 graduate of the University of Utah Law School and currently serves as the Solicitor General for Utah. Mr. Ferguson is a 2012 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, a former clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the Supreme Court, and the current Solicitor General for Virginia.
The last Republican Commissioner, Christine Wilson, departed the FTC abruptly and publicly expressed great concern about the leadership and direction of the FTC. Whether the voices of Ms. Holyoak and Mr. Ferguson can succeed in moderating (or even influencing) the agenda of the current FTC leadership, when previous Commissioners failed to do so, is unclear.
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For additional information about the issues discussed above, or if you have any other antitrust concerns, please contact the Epstein Becker Green attorney who regularly handles your legal matters, or one of the authors of this Antitrust Byte: