President Joe Biden has nominated two Republicans to the Federal Trade Commission, Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson and Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak, signaling his intention to bring balance to the five-member agency.
Ferguson and Holyoak will replace former Republican commissioners Christine Wilson, who left in March, and Noah Phillips, who departed in October, per Reuters.
Ferguson is currently serving as solicitor general for the Commonwealth of Virginia and held the role of chief counsel to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell from 2019 until 2021. Holyoak is the Utah Solicitor General with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, and previously served as president and general counsel of the public interest firm Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, and also worked at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and the Center for Class Action Fairness.
“The FTC operates best at full strength, and I will look forward to working with them,” said FTC Chair Lina Khan, who welcomed the nominations. “Each would bring key skills, experiences and expertise to the Commission as we work to promote fair competition and protect Americans from unfair or deceptive practices.”
Speaking with MarketWatch, Chris Matthews affirmed Lina Khan’s statement, stating, “FTC Chair Lina Khan congratulated the nominees in a statement, saying the commission ‘operates best at full strength,’ and ‘each would bring key skills, experiences, and expertise to the commission as we work to promote fair competition and protect Americans from unfair or deceptive practices.’”
Under the Biden Administration, the FTC has taken a much tougher stance on stopping mergers it believes could lead to higher prices for consumers or stunt innovation. The agency has filed complaints in hopes of prohibiting Microsoft’s $69 billion deal to buy Activision, Amgen’s purchase of Horizon Therapeutics, Intercontinental Exchange’s planned acquisition of Black Knight, and Illumina’s acquisition of Grail.
Former Republican FTC commissioner Christine Wilson, who announced her resignation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in February, said she was stepping down due to Khan’s alleged ‘disregard for the rule of law.’ She accused Khan of disregarding limits on the FTC’s jurisdiction and abusing power in order ‘to achieve desired outcomes.’
Will President Biden’s nominated Republicans to the FTC bring balance to the agency and help protect Americans from unfair or deceptive practices? The U.S. Senate will confirm the nominations, and only then will we know the answer.