Justice Dept. Antitrust Leader Confirmed by Senate

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By Liz Crampton

The Senate Sept. 27 confirmed President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Justice Department’s antitrust division after a series of hiccups that stalled his nomination for several months.

Makan Delrahim, the assistant attorney general nominee, was confirmed by a vote of 73-21. A former staffer on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Delrahim received significant bipartisan support in the committee, where his nomination was approved by a 19-1 vote.

He didn’t get the same level of support on the Senate floor, with almost half of the chamber’s Democrats voting against him, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who had held up his nomination over the summer, also voted no.

An antitrust and intellectual property attorney, Delrahim most recently was advising Trump on judicial nominations and working as a lobbyist for merging companies.

Delrahim faced opposition unusual for an antitrust nominee. His selection came at a time when Democratic leaders started championing antitrust reform. Warren delayed the confirmation vote over concerns he would be lax on enforcement.

The antitrust nominee also had to confront questions about the antitrust division’s ability to operate independently from President Donald Trump, who has been seen as meddling in merger investigations such as AT&T Inc.'s proposal to buy Time Warner Inc.

Delrahim made repeated promises to lawmakers that he would maintain appropriate separation from the White House as the Justice Department conducts its work investigating anticompetitive mergers and conduct.

To contact the reporter on this story: Liz Crampton in Washington at lcrampton@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Fawn Johnson at fjohnson@bna.com

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