The Federal Trade Commissions will soon be back to having a full complement of five commissioners. Today, the U.S. Senate, by a vote of 95 to 1, confirmed Terrell McSweeny to fill a vacancy at the agency created by the departure of Jon D. Leibowitz more than a year ago. Her term runs through September 26, 2017.
The White House announced the nomination of McSweeny in June 2013. Although her nomination was not controversial, her confirmation was delayed because the Senate failed to take a vote before year’s end.
McSweeny is currently Chief Counsel for Competition Policy and Intergovernmental Relations at the Department of Justice Antitrust Division. She has been at the Antitrust Division since 2012. Prior to that, she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President at the White House. McSweeny received an A.B. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School.
McSweeny’s arrival at the FTC will provide the agency with a Democratic majority that should avoid two-to-two deadlocks and enable Chairwoman Edith Ramirez to pursue her agenda.
The FTC recently described itself as “collegial, bipartisan, and consensus-driven.” However, there has certainly been some disagreement among the four current commissioners.
During questioning by the Commerce Committee last year, McSweeny discussed the need for offering guidance to business. Noting that the FTC was primarily a law enforcement agency dealing with issues on a case-by-case basis, she said that it was incumbent on agency leaders to clearly articulate their reasoning, to apply the law as written, and to follow the case law. She committed to doing just that if confirmed.