Donald Trump Picks Washington Lawyer Joe Simons to Head the FTC

October 20, 2017, 9:55 AM UTC

President Donald Trump chose Joseph Simons, an antitrust attorney from the Washington D.C. office of law firm Paul Weiss, to head the Federal Trade Commission.

Simons, a partner at the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, was a director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition from 2001 to 2003.

The White House also said Noah Phillips and Rohit Chopra would join the FTC as Commissioners, finally filling gaps that have been vacant for months.

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Noah Phillips, who graduated from Stanford Law School in 2005, is chief counsel for U.S. Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican. He is also a veteran of the law firms Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

Chopra, a financial services expert and an ally of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, is currently at the Consumer Federation of America.

The agency is currently headed by Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, a Republican, with Democrat Terrell McSweeny the only other commissioner. The president had long been expected to name a permanent chair and fill the three empty commission seats, two Republican and one Democrat or independent.

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During Simons’ earlier tenure at the FTC, the agency sued to stop Diageo PLC and Pernod Ricard from buying Seagram Spirits and Wine in 2001 to prevent a duopoly in rum. The FTC also filed a lawsuit in 2003 to stop Haagen-Dazs owner Nestle Holdings Inc from buying Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Inc, which makes also superpremium ice cream. The FTC later settled both cases.

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The FTC works with the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law and pursues companies accused of deceptive advertising. It is an independent agency that is headed by a chairman and four commissioners. No more than three commissioners can come from any one party

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