The antitrust lawyer Joseph Simons will most likely be nominated for chairman of the Federal Trade Commission by President Donald Trump. During the George W. Bush administration, Simons was an FTC antitrust official and is currently co-chairman of the antitrust group at the Paul Weiss law firm, Politico reports.
From 2001 to 2003, Simons was director of the Bureau of Competition in the FTC. During his term, a duopoly was prevented by stopping Diageo PLC and Pernod Ricard from purchasing Seagram Spirits and Wine.
Should Simons be confirmed as head of the commission, he would immediately focus on controversial issues, such as calls from both Democrats and Republicans to scrutinize companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon.
Since January, the FTC has been left without a permanent head, while Republican Commissioner Maureen Ohlhausen has served as acting chairman in the course of the past 10 month. This move by Trump is a blow to Ohlhausen who has been sworn as Commissioner since 2012 and has been lobbying for the position this past year. Under Ohlhausen the agency fined Uber for misuse of their customer data.
Apart from Simons, Trump is expected to nominate Noah Phillips, Senator John Cornyn’s chief counsel, and Rohit Chopra as commissioners to fill the empty seats, according to a White House official. Trump’s nominees must first be confirmed by the Senate, which has demonstrated fears regarding the power the tech industry has.
Chopra, who is at the Consumer Federation of America, will fill the empty Democratic seat.
The Federal Trade Commission is an independent agency that works with the Justice Department in pursuing companies charged with misleading advertising and deceptive practices. The agency reviews important mergers and has a hand in protecting online privacy.