President Biden Nominates Andrew Ferguson and Melissa Holyoak as Republican Picks for the Federal Trade Commission.
President Joe Biden has announced the nomination of Virginia Solicitor General Andrew Ferguson and Utah Solicitor General Melissa Holyoak to fill Republican positions at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to a statement from the White House on Monday.
If confirmed by the Senate, the appointments of Ferguson and Holyoak will not alter the balance of power at the FTC, which currently has a Democratic chair, Lina Khan, and two Democratic commissioners. The FTC plays a crucial role in enforcing antitrust laws and combating deceptive advertising practices.
Under the Biden administration, the FTC has adopted a more assertive stance against mergers that could potentially result in higher consumer prices or hinder innovation. Lina Khan, the FTC chair, expressed her support for the nominations, stating that Ferguson and Holyoak would bring valuable skills, experiences, and expertise to the Commission.
Ensuring the FTC operates at full capacity is crucial, as it is expected to file a case against Amazon.com, possibly in the coming months. The agency had previously filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook during the tenure of former President Donald Trump, and the case is still pending trial.
Additionally, the FTC is currently reviewing Kroger’s proposed acquisition of rival grocer Albertsons, along with other pending deals.
Andrew Ferguson previously served as chief counsel to U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell until 2021, and he has worked for Senators Lindsey Graham and Chuck Grassley. Melissa Holyoak, on the other hand, currently holds the position of Utah Solicitor General in the Utah Attorney General’s Office. She has previously worked in various capacities, including at the law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP, the Hamilton Lincoln Law Institute, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and the Center for Class Action Fairness.
Senate confirmation is now awaited for Ferguson and Holyoak. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell expressed his support for the nominations, emphasizing the need for talented leaders who can protect American consumers and safeguard the country’s economic future.
The FTC is actively involved in several ongoing cases, including a lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision. The agency is also awaiting a court decision regarding this matter. Furthermore, the FTC has filed complaints to halt other mergers, such as Amgen’s purchase of Horizon Therapeutics, Intercontinental Exchange’s planned acquisition of Black Knight, and the dispute between Illumina and Grail over their respective merger.
The nominations of Ferguson and Holyoak signal the administration’s commitment to a strong and effective FTC, with a focus on promoting fair competition and protecting consumer interests in the evolving marketplace.