Antitrust Lawyer Joseph Simons Nominated To Head FTC

President Donald Trump has nominated antitrust attorney Joseph Simons to lead the Federal Trade Commission.

Simons currently serves as a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where has represented Mastercard, Microsoft, Time Warner and other corporate clients. Last year, Simons represented Time Warner in a Justice Department proceeding concerning the company's acquisition by Charter, according to court records.

From 2001 through 2003, Simons served as director of the FTC's Bureau of Competition.

The FTC, a five-member panel, has functioned with only two commissioners since February -- Republican Maureen Ohlhausen, who served as acting chairwoman, and Democrat Terrell McSweeny.

Earlier this year, the ad industry group Association of National Advertisers urged the White House to move forward with nominations. "It is vital for the Commission to be restored to its full five-member strength," the ANA wrote in April. "With only one Commissioner from each party, in a politically fraught environment, the FTC could end up in 1-1 tie votes, leaving the Commission essentially paralyzed and unable to act in a number of areas of high importance to consumers and advertising interests."

Trump also nominated consumer advocate Rohit Chopra to the FTC. Rohit, recommended earlier this year by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, is a senior fellow with the Consumer Federation of America. He previously served as student loan ombudsman for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Noah Phillips, chief counsel to Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), reportedly will be nominated for the fifth position on the FTC.

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