Antitrust Law Daily Rebecca Kelly Slaughter to serve as acting FTC chair
Thursday, January 21, 2021

Rebecca Kelly Slaughter to serve as acting FTC chair

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

The Democrat commissioner takes the top job at the Commission until new commissioners are confirmed to replace outgoing Chairman Simons and Commissioner Rohit Chopra.

Today, Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter was designated acting chair of the FTC. Slaughter, a Democrat, steps into the leadership role that was held by Chairman Joseph Simons. At this point, it is unclear how long Slaughter will serve as acting chair. Her term expires in September 2022.

Two members of the five-member Commission are headed for the door. Simons, a Republican, announced his resignation on January 19, effective January 29. Chopra, the other Democrat commissioner, also is expected to leave the agency. However, the timetable for that departure is unclear.

Chopra headed back to CFPB. Chopra is the intended nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). While there was speculation over how soon Chopra might leave the FTC to return to the CFPB (and the legality of the move), an imminent departure is not likely. President Joseph Biden has announced that Dave Uejio will serve as acting CFPB head until permanent leadership can be confirmed by the Senate, and confirmation could take some time.

Possible delays for future FTC posts. Delays in Senate confirmations for the FTC posts are possible as well. President Donald Trump selected Simons and Chopra to serve as commissioners at the FTC on October 19, 2017. At that time, there were only two commissioners: Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, a Republican, and Terrell McSweeny, a Democrat. Due to the start of a new legislative session, in January 2018, Trump renominated Simons and Chopra and two additional commissioners: Republicans Christine S. Wilson and Noah Joshua Phillips. In March 2018, Slaughter was nominated as the fifth commissioner. It was not until April 26, 2018, that the Senate confirmed Trump’s nominees for the FTC.

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