Stay current on the latest developments from agencies including the CFPB, Federal Reserve, FDIC, and OCC to advise clients on real-life regulatory situations.
President-elect Donald Trump will have a rare opportunity to impact U.S. antitrust and consumer protection policy after Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Edith Ramirez steps down, creating a third vacancy at the agency.
Never before has a new president had the chance to fill three vacant commission seats, according to FTC spokesman Justin Cole.
“Trump will have the ability to make a real mark on the commission through these appointments,” Carl Hittinger, an antitrust lawyer at Baker & Hostetler LLP, told Bloomberg BNA. “With three brand new commissioners, it’s going to move in a new direction for sure.”
The vacancies give Trump the opportunity to “substantially revise” the FTC’s law enforcement and regulatory agenda, according to Bilal Sayyed, a partner at McDermott Will & Emery. He noted that deregulation across government is expected to be a cornerstone of the Trump administration.
“What’s unique here is the number of open seats that can be filled quickly with people who are in sync with the incoming president,” said Sayyed, who was an adviser to former FTC chairman Tim Muris.
People advising Trump’s transition team on FTC issues include Paul Atkins, chief executive of Patomak Global Partners LLC and a former Republican member of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Ramirez, a Democrat, plans to leave her post effective Feb. 10, leaving the agency with only two commissioners: Maureen Ohlhausen, a Republican, and Terrell McSweeny, another Democrat. Joshua Wright, a Republican, and Julie Brill, a Democrat, have left seats that remain empty.
Ohlhausen is widely expected to take over the commission on an acting—if not long-term—basis.
Ramirez was appointed by President Barack Obama and has served as a commissioner since April 2010. She became chairwoman in March 2013, after Jon Leibowitz resigned.
Under her leadership, the agency successfully challenged the mergers of Sysco Corp. and U.S. Foods Inc., as well as Staples Inc. and Office Depot Inc.
Two major deals are still pending review: Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s $9.4 billion deal for rival Rite Aid Corp., and Sherwin-Williams Co.’s $9.3 billion agreement to buy Valspar Corp.
Overall, she led the FTC in bringing nearly 400 law enforcement actions covering a range of consumer protection issues and about 100 cases challenging anti-competitive mergers and business conduct, the agency said in a statement. Her priorities included expanding the FTC’s role in studying markets and emerging trends, including the sharing economy, the Internet of Things and big data.
“Chairwoman Ramirez has shown exemplary leadership of the FTC, dealing with cutting edge issues with wisdom and even-handedness,” said Christopher Wolf, of counsel at Hogan Lovells LLP.
Stephen Calkins, an antitrust law professor at Wayne State University and a former general counsel at the FTC, said Ramirez has been “quietly effective” as a leader.
“Hers was a commission with several strong personalities and she kept peace among them; the overwhelming majority of the agency’s accomplishments were bipartisan even if not unanimous,” Calkins said.
Ramirez “also successfully resisted congressional efforts to weaken the agency,” Calkins said. Those efforts included passage of the SMARTER Act, which would have aligned the FTC’s merger review process with that of the Justice Department.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alexei Alexis in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tiffany Friesen Milone at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)