Trump nominates four potential FTC commissioners

Trump nominates four potential FTC commissioners
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It 'isn't worth the paper it's signed on' Trump 'no longer angry' at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE has put forth four nominees to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has been operating with only two of its five seats filled throughout his administration.

The names are not entirely new. Last year, Trump announced his intention to nominate antitrust attorney Joseph Simons to chair the agency; Noah Phillips, an aide to Sen. John CornynJohn CornynQuinnipiac polls show Trump leading Biden in Texas, deadlocked race in Ohio The Hill's Campaign Report: GOP set to ask SCOTUS to limit mail-in voting Liberal super PAC launches ads targeting vulnerable GOP senators over SCOTUS fight MORE (R-Texas), to fill one of the GOP slots; and consumer advocate Rohit Chopra to serve in the Democratic opening. But for some reason, the White House did not submit the proper paperwork to the Senate.

On Thursday, Trump renominated them to the consumer protection agency along with a fourth, Delta Airlines vice president Christine Wilson, to fill the Republican opening that will be left by Maureen Ohlhausen, the current acting chairwoman who was recently nominated for a federal judgeship.

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Simons is a longtime corporate antitrust attorney with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, and also headed the FTC’s competition bureau under the George W. Bush administration. 

Chopra is a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America and a former assistant director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had recommended Chopra to the White House as a potential Democratic pick.

Cornyn on Thursday hailed the decision to nominate Phillips, his chief counsel.

“A talented lawyer and dedicated member of my staff, Noah’s extensive work on the Judiciary Committee will serve him well in this role,” Cornyn said in a statement. “He will be a big asset to the Commission, and I’m proud to support his nomination.”

Wilson, who heads Delta’s legal and regulatory affairs, had previously worked as a partner at Kirkland & Ellis and served as chief of staff to former FTC Chairman Timothy Muris.

Terrell McSweeny, a Democrat, has been serving on the commission past her term's expiration date. There's no word yet on whether she will be renominated or replaced.

If confirmed, the four will be in charge of overseeing mergers and policing companies for violations of consumer protection laws. The agency will also be tasked with preserving an open internet, following the FCC’s repeal of its net neutrality rules that ended the FTC’s jurisdiction over internet providers.

Updated: 5:33 p.m.